Johannesburg – When one hears the name Round Table, two things come to mind, a debate or King Arthur and his knights.
Digging deeper into it, one gets to understand the significance of the name. King Arthur’s table had no head, implying that everyone who sat there had equal status.
That philosophy of equality inspired a charity organisation that has been making a positive impact in the lives of the needy, and drastically changing those of its members.
The Round Table Theatre (RTT) is celebrating 50 years of putting smiles on the faces of many people around the country. The organisation has 120 Tables throughout the country, with a membership of at least 800. It also has an international footprint with 33 000 members globally.
Annually, the organisation organises shows to raise funds for its charity work. They are set to start in October and run through November.
In the previous year alone, the organisation managed to do charity work estimated at over R2 million. The work they do ranges from painting schools and churches to food drives, and even raising funds for groups in distress.
Pretoria 19 Bushveld vice-chairman Bernard Venter describes the organisation and the shows they put together as “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.
“There is no limit to what we do. We love giving our time more than money. If a church needs to be painted, we will wear overalls and paint. We love getting our hands dirty and helping communities,” he said.
Venter added that they also fellowship together and help each other grow.
Garth Roeloffze, Pretoria 136 chairman said the organisation has provided a platform for members to also grow professionally and acquire new skills.
“We believe in impactful change. We want to make an actual change in somebody’s life for as long as they live. We have people with no background in accounting running and managing the books, and acquiring new skills. It also gives a lot of networking opportunities to members. We have people that have gone into businesses together after meeting here,” he said.
The organisation has opened its doors to everyone, with the strict guidelines of being non-political, non-racial, non-religious and non-sexist.
“In the olden days, the Tables used to be reserved for professionals, but that has changed over time. We welcome everybody and push for the development of everyone within the Table,” said Roeloffze.
The Round Table theatre also believes in respect for individuals and doing good. Being part of the organisation has further benefits for members.
One can travel to any country where there is a Table and they will be hosted by a member, at no cost.
“They will get extremely offended if you take out your wallet and want to even pay for anything. Also, if you are driving somewhere and get stuck on the side of the road, you can just pop a message or make a call and help will come from all sides,” said Venter.
With regards to the shows, the pair says they are more suitable for those over the age of 18. They are saucy and raunchy. The costumes are a thing of beauty and border on being sensual.
The RTT theme for this year is Houtstok (Woodstock), 60’s vs the ’70s. This was a brilliant era of music and history, with the historic Woodstock festival in 1969. The tie-dye shirts will be coming out. From “Grease” to “Mama Mia”, it promises to be a show that will be remembered for many years to come.