Rand Club for hipsters, not just traditionalists

The Rand Club. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The Rand Club. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

I was thrilled to open the Mail & Guardian to find a page dedicated to my favourite haunt in Johannesburg, the Rand Club, where I have been a female member for several years. It was with much eagerness that I read the article by Matthew Burbidge, "Still grand at the Rand" (Friday, April 26).

I felt, however, that he was describing a club with staid traditions, where gentlemen in suits would find any form of change distasteful. I can understand Burbidge's opinion, because he evidently was not aware of the new life that the club has taken on in the past few years.

Efforts to move the club into 2013 have been made because, like most clubs around the world, we are struggling to survive.

My husband and I joined because we wanted to help support the life of an amazing building in the inner city with an ­incredible heritage.

I must add that, as a woman in a world from which the fairer sex was, until recently, excluded, I feel comfortable and accepted.

This alone has been a huge change for the traditionalists.We have even had a female chairperson!

The club offers an elegant and different option for the younger generation.
In fact, there are two Thursdays a month, advertised on Facebook, inviting young people to drink and network with a view to recruiting new members.

The fees are extremely reasonable (from R545 per annum for under-25-year-olds).

We also have events every week for members, from quiz nights to speakers and wine-food pairings. We have built our own little theatre downstairs presenting great entertainers such as Nik Rabinowitz and Pieter-Dirk Uys.

The club organises wonderful Sunday morning heritage walks, finishing at its great carvery.

Our chamber music concerts feature top performers such as the Goldberg Quartet up to five times a year.

I am grateful to Burbidge for taking the time to visit the Rand Club, but it would be great if he came and experienced its "flip and hip" side. We will invite him to join us at an after-hours event that may give him another perspective. – André Hattingh, actress and ­fashion designer

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