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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

TABLE OF PEACE AND UNITY (article first published : 2008-03-24)

Violence has touched most people in South Africa, especially children. Now more than ever it is time to stand up for peace and unity in our beautiful but beleaguered country. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has repeatedly stated: “Let each of us bring peace into our daily lives, into family homes, into our relationships and into our workplaces.”

With this in mind, Christine Cashmore, SA Gourmet Festival Director, is once again mounting her annual charity lunch, the Table of Peace and Unity, in five South African cities which, this year hopes to raise more than R1-million for worthwhile charities. Last year’s event at the Union Buildings in Pretoria was a huge success and Cashmore intends that this year’s Table of Unity to be held at the Union Buildings on April 13, will be bigger and better than ever before.

The other Tables will be held on Freedom Day, April 27, in the Botanic Gardens in Durban as well as on Table Mountain in Cape Town; The Harbour in Port Elizabeth and the Town Square in Polokwane.

Cashmore explains the concept behind the tables which started nine years ago: “If there’s one thing above all others which draws people together, no matter what their circumstances, it’s the companionship of a meal. Barriers fall and there is something unifying about breaking bread with each other.” Like so many of life’s significant turning points, this small vision has gathered momentum until today, where it’s grown into a landmark occasion of national stature.

To fulfil her dream, Cashmore persuaded top South African artists to perform, celebrated chefs to cook, major retailers to sponsor ingredients and community and spiritual leaders to speak from the heart. The ingredients for all the tables are sponsored by Pick ‘n Pay.

Says Cashmore: “We urge you to gather friends, colleagues and relatives to enjoy a gourmet luncheon paired with award-winning wines, share common ground with neighbours, celebrated international guests, local celebrities, respected community leaders and spiritual leaders from all denominations. Break bread for peace and unity.”

In addition, all South Africans who are not able to be at the national tables, will be encouraged to hold their own Table of Peace and Unity with family and friends in their homes, as a communal street party, in a community or church hall.

Over the past nine years, The Table of Peace and Unity, in conjunction with the SA Gourmet Festival, has raised over R5-million for charity, with R750,000 raised in 2007 alone. The beneficiaries include the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, the only dedicated, specialist paediatric hospital in sub-Saharan Africa, where funds raised last year provided a desperately needed mobile ventilator to move children from the operating theatre to ICU. Another recipient, the Bobbi Bear Foundation, has had a cottage erected to assist in housing abused children. Funds were raised for a car for Copes Clinic SA in Soweto, allowing caregivers to move from house to house to take care of children whose parents have died of HIV/Aids.

Tickets R400 pp booked through Event Coordinator, Tanya Price on 021 797 4500 ext 115 or e-mail tableofunity@gourmetsa.com




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