ROUND Tablers of the 177 Club from UK, Germany, India, France and Netherlands were in Port Alfred on a South African tour last week.
For the past 25 years either a member of Port Alfred Round Table is sent overseas with the backing of the local Round Table, or Port Alfred hosts the annual tour.
The first Round Table in South Africa was established in East London, and is known as Round Table 1. Each club established in South Africa after that was given a sequential number and these numbered clubs forge relationships with their counterparts overseas with the same number, or a similar number like 77.
This is how Port Alfred came to be in the same group as Hounslow (UK), Bad Kreuznach (Germany), Pune (India), Antibes (France) and Oosteryk (Netherlands), which is a 77 club.
“The more volunteers, the more cost effective the tours become,” said Port Alfred Round table chairman Frikkie Coetzee.
This year the visitors were treated to a South Africa tour starting in Cape Town where they saw the sights and stayed at the V&A Waterfront, to George where they went on the Human Origin Tour, visited a game farm and saw the Big Five, and finally Port Alfred where they stayed with local hosts.
The local hosts treated them to a trip up the Kowie River, a visit to a pineapple farm, a spit braai at the club house with an impala and warthog shot by Tablers, and a gala dinner on Saturday night at Harry B’s.
After the delicious dinner, which included a vegetarian and a vegan option, each country gave an “interruption” or a skit to entertain the group.
France did a comedy routine, England did a puppet show with a girl as a puppet, India, which is fairly newly established (only 10 years old) did a Q&A, Germany sang a Rodriguez song and Port Alfred did an Afrikaans song and dance routine.
On Saturday afternoon they attended Port Alfred High School where the Round Tablers from Germany, UK and India donated money towards the upkeep of the school tennis courts.
Next year the tour will be held in the United Kingdom.
Round Table was originally started by ex-Rotarians who felt they still had something to offer their community. Men who have passed their 40th birthday and are too old for Round Table form the 41’ers.
The Round Table name is not from Arthurian legend, but from the simple practice of gathering together around a table.