Laying the Table for a uniquely unifying feast

Laying the Table for a uniquely unifying feast

With this year’s Table of Unity fast approaching, PETER TROMP chatted to food personality CHRISTINE CASHMORE, founder of the charitable event.

What was the motivation behind starting Table Of Peace and Unity?
When I looked out my window at Table Mountain 12 years ago, I was surrounded by doom and gloom. It was the time of our second general election and many people were expecting the worst.
People always have a tendency to focus on the negative, but as I looked at Table Mountain I began to realise our fears and our negativity are rooted in the fact that we don’t know each other.
As one of the founders of The Good Food and Wine Show, I’m very clearly passionate about food. More than that, food is a great leveller. It’s easier to get to know each other over the “geselligheid” (conviviality) of a meal.
I decided we should celebrate our common humanity and work together to bring about peace and unity in our nation by sharing a meal. And not just any meal: this was to be the longest table in the country at the foot of the biggest Table.

Please share some of the highlights during that time.
Highlights have included building the facility for Operation Bobbi Bear, building a clinic and two play parks with COPES SA in Soweto, this year purchasing the house for Christine Booysen.

What can attendees to this year’s Table Of Peace and Unity look forward to?
A stunning three course meal prepared by South Africa’s top chefs; world class entertainment including Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, Nataniel, Sterling EQ, the Amy Biehl Choir and Kristi Lowe; fantastic camaraderie; a proudly South African atmosphere; and the knowledge that all proceeds are going to children’s charities making a real difference in the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable and abused children.

How much planning goes into each year’s event?
It’s quite a task to get world class chefs to prepare a meal for people of all ages, colours and creeds on the side of a mountain where there are no restaurant facilities. It takes a year’s worth of planning to ensure that the people who sit at our Table have a memorable and uplifting experience and moreover that the monies raised are distributed and used in such a way as to maximize the benefit to our children and make a significant impact on the prevention of future abuse.

Who will be benefiting from the proceeds of this year’s event?
Operation Bobbi Bear, Patch/ Helderberg Child Abuse Centre, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre, City Angel Christine Booysen, Unathi Township Creche and other charities addressing the needs of abused children.

Tell us a little about the sponsors that are on board. How can other parties who might want to sponsor future events become involved?
Checkers sponsors all the ingredients to the Table. Downings Marquee Hire sponsors the marquee. Food & Trees for Africa have donated the table décor, which will be replanted after the table and help offset our carbon footprint.
The Cellars-Hohenort, The Cape Town International Convention Centre and Dish Catering have all sponsored their time and talent to creating our proudly South African menu.
The entertainers all donate their time and talent. Dior has come on board this year to ensure all our mothers are spoiled on this special day. And we have a number of fantastic auction items donated by Nataniel, Checkers, The Cape Grace, Kat van Duinen, and artists Kelly Gough and Igshaan Adams.
We are looking for a major sponsor for the 2014 event. We also welcome corporates to buy blocks of tickets to entertain clients and colleagues. Any companies who can come on board with auction items, or sponsorships of goods and services are more than welcome.
All costs we are able to save is more money that we are able to donate to our charities. We are able to offer Section 18(A) Donation Certificates for any sponsorships, ticket sales and auction purchases as all funds go to our charities.

What does the future hold for Table of Peace and Unity?
The Table of Peace and Unity will continue to raise necessary funds to protect our children and prevent future abuse. We’d like to see the Table grow into an internationally lauded event and are striving to get international talent involved and invite international celebrities to bring more recognition to the Table and the need to proactively work toward the prevention of future abuse of our children.

* This year’s Table of Unity will take place on Sunday May 12 at noon on the slopes of Table Mountain.
Tickets are R500 for VIP seating near the stage, R400 on the outer ends of the table, and R450 for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available from Computicket, or on 021 702-2280, or at kristi@fieramilano.co.za. All proceeds from tickets sales and the auction on the day go to various charities.