The Rand Club Is A Grand Old Boy's Club
"A gentleman's club is defined as an association of men for the purpose of drunkeness, gluttony, unholy hilarity, murder, sacrilege, and the slander of mothers, wives and sisters", reads my dour tour guide. He's showing me around the infamous Rand Club on the corner of Fox and Loveday Streets in the heart of the CBD. He's not joking either, because the century-old RC, has seen it all: death, destruction, ladies being smuggled through the back -- this Renaissance styled building has a deliciously chequered history
Established by Joburg's mining hoi-polloi back in 1887 when Jozi was just an outpost, the first Rand Club was a refuge from the heat, cold, dust, flies, and noise of the day. Since then it's been home to many, including its fair share of eccentric foreigners. One of whom, an eldery American, would sunbathe in the nude on the roof. As the surrounding buildings began to leave the Rand Club in shadows, so the complaints poured in. Ever loyal to their members, the RC shrugged off the complaints and simply told the prudes
that "We. Were. Here. First." and if they couldn't stomach the view, they should, turn the other... ahem... cheek! Fair enough.
From the early nineties, women were finally allowed to become members, and can now take their rightful place at Africa's longest bar -- a half moon shaped bar 32 metres long -- for a genteel G&T.
For more info check out www.randclub.co.za, and for fascinating tour of the club, with all its wayward tales, ring the Parktown & Westcliff Heritage Trust on 011-482-3349 (mornings only).