Toastmasters celebrate 50 years

Table Bay Toastmasters Club celebrated its 50th anniversary at a special meeting in Sea Point on Monday January 15.

The Table Bay Toastmasters Club is celebrating half a century of helping people to improve their public speaking, learn leadership skills and gain confidence, all while having fun.

They held a special 50th anniversary meeting at The Peninsula All Suites Hotel in Sea Point on Monday January 15.

Secretary Geoff London said he joined the club 35 years ago to improve his public speaking after giving a presentation to brokers.

Toastmasters originally started in the United States where the original idea was to help YMCA boys improve their communication skills.

Now the club is in numerous countries across the globe and boasts more than 350 000 members. “We encourage people to come along as a guest and see what is all about,” said Mr London.

He said every person he has seen join the club has improved their public speaking.

While meetings in the 70s and 80s were very formal, today’s meetings are more relaxed but still have an agenda and controlled times.

For the last four decades, Table Bay Toastmasters Club has hosted a “Humour HopAbout” Contest in November each year. All clubs in the Western Cape compete in a humorous speech contest. A well-known guest speaker also features on the programme.

Mr London said the special anniversary meeting had gone very well. The guest speaker was Allen Ambor who started the Spur, also 50 years ago. He spoke about how he got the company off the ground.

Club president Gary Bartsch said there was a manual which members worked towards completing to get a certificate.

“It is also about leadership, there is a lot of empathy at the club,” he said. Mr Bartsch described the anniversary meeting as “a magical evening”.

“Joining the Toastmasters club was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

He said the club always encourages new members and says, “just bring yourself along” to a meeting and see what it’s all about.

Meetings are normally held on the fourth Monday of the month at a Green Point venue.

For more information about the Table Bay Toastmasters Club, contact Mr London on 083 280 2456 or visit

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