Round Table is a non-political, non-denominational association of young men between the ages of 18 and 40 embracing representatives of nearly every profession and occupation.
Our objectives encompass the encouragement of high ethical standards, the promotion of intercommunication and fellowship among young professional men, the quickening of individual interest in everything affecting the public welfare and the promotion of understanding amongst peoples of different cultural, language and political backgrounds.
The name “Round Table” is not directly drawn from Arthurian Legend; rather both its title and its maxim comes from a speech made to the British Industries Fair in 1927 by the then HRH Prince Edward, Prince of Wales ‘The young business and professional men of this country must get together round the table, adopt methods that have proved so sound in the past, adapt them to the changing needs of the times and wherever possible, improve them’. The phrase “adopt, adapt, improve” is a key facet of the organisation, and is often seen on Round Table literature and regalia.
So where did it all start?
The Round Table organisation started in England in 1927 when a young Rotarian from Norwich, Louis Marchesi, decided that there was a need for a club where young professional men of the town could meet regularly to exchange ideas and collectively contribute to the civic discourse of the town. The idea proved extremely popular and many other Round Table clubs were established, first in England but later in Denmark and then other countries around the world. Round Table Southern Africa was established with the first club - RT East London 1 established in 1951.
Today Round Table is a truly International organisation with approximately 34,000 members from 2,700 clubs in more than 60 countries around the world. In fact - Round Table is represented on every continent. Clubs are called “Tables” which typically have a club name representing the geographic area or town with which it is associated and a number allocated in the order in which the club was chartered within its country or association. Club members are called “Tablers” with their wives or partners referred to as ladies.
Round Table is a young men’s service organisation, and through the years it has remained true to its original values of being non-political and non-denominational. Membership is open to males between the ages of 18 and 40 (45 in some countries) and clubs conduct their business in open and transparent manner. Round Table is definitely not a secretive or exclusive society but rather welcome potential members who want to see for themselves what it is all about. www.rtinternational.org
AIMS AND OBJECTS
- To develop fellowship among young men through the medium of their professional and business occupations.
- To emphasise the fact that one’s calling offers an excellent medium of service to the community.
- To cultivate the highest ideals in business, professional and civic traditions.
- To recognise the worthiness of all legitimate occupations and to dignify each his own by precept and example.
- To foster responsible citizenship and loyalty to our country.
- To further the establishment of peace and goodwill in international relationships.
- To further these Objects by meetings, lectures, discussions and other activities.
The motto of Round Table
Adopt, Adapt, Improve.
Becoming a member of Round Table is often as simple as making contact with a club and attending (a specified number of) business and social meetings and projects as a guest. Each association and club has its own constitution that regulates the process before a new member may be accepted. Admission or “induction” to Round Table is usually subject to the club’s members agreeing to allow a guest (or “pipeliner”) to become a member.
The reason for this selection process is that Round Table does impose a time and financial obligation on its members and it is therefore in the club and greater organisation’s best interest to screen potential members to determine their level of commitment. Generally speaking Tabler’s are gentlemen on a mission to improve the world and prefer inducting exceptional young men who will make a positive contribution.
Round Table has 3 sister organisations with which it has close ties and cooperate where feasible namely:
41 Club International was created in 1975 to provide a club for ex-tablers after they have to terminate their membership of Round Table when they’ve reached the age limit for their association. These ex-tablers are often referred to as “Old Tablers” or 41’ers. Club 41 provides a means through which ex-tablers can maintain the friendships and international relations established during their table careers. In many countries, tablers and 41’ers will often join hands or pool resources on mutually beneficial initiatives. There are currently approximately 50,000 41 Club members internationally.www.41international.net
Ladies Circle is an independent service organisation for young woman between the ages of 18 to 45. Ladies Circle has a similar ethos to Round Table. Originally created as an organisation for tabler’s wives, they now also accept members that are not necessarily related to tablers. Members are called “Circlers” and as with the 41’ers there is close cooperation and friendship between tablers and circlers in achieving common goals. The relationship between our organisations have in recent years been formalised by the “side-by-side” initiative being actively promoted at all levels within the respective organisations. Ladies circle has their version of the 41’ers club for circlers that have reached the age limit called club Agora. www.ladiescircle.org