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The World Burns Club recently learned of an unusual celebration of the life of Robert Burns and Scottish Heritage. Organisers of this impressive event contacted us saying:-

"South Africa is all set to serve up the largest Burns Supper of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, with 350 guests expected to attend the "traditional gathering" on Saturday 27th January 2001. Since inception 26 years ago, the Sandton Burns Supper, Johannesburg, has grown into the world's largest Robbie Burns event celebrated "under canvas" and the biggest Burns event of any type in our hemisphere."

Scott McRae of the organising committee tells us:-

"South Africa's embrace of cultural diversity has created a platform for future growth, while the recent transformation into a fund-raising event for deserving charities has ensured its continuing relevance in a land trying to address numerous backlogs.
A Burns Supper welcomes both the "MacIntoshes" and the "Makhathinis" of this world. Burns celebrations have been held in scores of host countries for well over 100 years - turning Burns Night into one of the world's first showcases of cultural diversity.

With Burns, the common man found his poetic voice. He celebrates everyday life and the extraordinary actions of supposedly ordinary people. This in itself ensures his relevance in the New South Africa, but to further underline the local Burns contribution we have now adopted a South African charity that makes a huge contribution in an area of real grassroots need, while facing a perennial battle for funding - The Multiple Sclerosis Society of South Africa.

The Supper traditionally attracts many local business and political leaders. The Sandton celebration contains all the elements of worldwide Burns Supper events, including a pipe band, the piping in of a host of VIP guests, haggis and the serving of traditional Scottish fare, kilted dancers and entertainers including the music of the Richmond Avenue Pipe Band (event stalwarts for 26 years), recitations from Burns' works, and the traditional series of jocular toasts together with the singing of Auld Lang Syne. Scotch whisky for the occasion is sponsored by Ballantine's.

This event has always been a celebration of cultural diversity and a chance to salute the Bard of Scotland - Robbie Burns. It is appropriate at this time to expand its role and turn it into a fund- generator for a deserving charity as so many worthy causes today face an uphill battle for funding. We could think of no more deserving cause than the Multiple Scelerosis Society, which does sterling work on meagre, largely voluntary resources."

Con Mackey, MS Society fund-raising director added "We have set no fund-raising target as this is the first time the organisers have adopted a charity and anyway all contributions are welcome. In common with many other charities, pressure on funds is immense. Yet the need for MS support grows by the day. We whole-heartedly thank the Burns Supper organisers and hope that other events which historically have had no fund-raising element to them will consider this type of charity adoption. We are thrilled by the gesture. It is not only a chance to supplement woefully inadequate funds, but to increase awareness of the plight of MS sufferers and their families as this event traditionally attracts a high-profile audience of business and political leaders."

Contact details are given at the foot of this page. We are delighted that this event has been brought to our attention and look forward to receiving photographs from the event together with details on the speakers and entertainment. We hope to post a follow up feature on site after the event has taken place. Given the significant change process within South Africa, it is somewhat poignant and symbolic that Robert Burns - who believed passionately in freedom and common decency amongst his fellow man - should be the focal point of such an occasion, so far from his native land. This only serves to remind us of his astonishing worldwide fame and recognition of his simple message. The World Burns Club send our best wishes to The Sandton Burns Supper and everyone supporting

the event . Have a great time !

The Venue is : Thorn Trees Farm, Broadacres, Sandton. Cost per person is R250, including drinks.

Ticket enquiries:

Scot McRae BURNS SUPPER ORGANISER (011) 788-4610 082 600


7582 Con Mackey MS SOCIETY (011) 465-3007 083 450 5165

Alternatively e-mail the Event Promoters
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