On 18th January, 1921 Edward C Fisher, a member of the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh, had lunch with five other men at the Johannesburg YMCA and the subject was Rotary. A week later they each brought a friend to lunch and enthusiastically decided to start a Rotary Club.

On the 25th of April a third lunch was held resulting in an Application for Membership carrying 45 signatures being sent to what was then known as the International Association of Rotary Clubs. On the 1st July 1921 the Rotary Club of Johannesburg was chartered.

Club Board, Venue, and Meeting Time

Current Board

President: Nick Wood

Secretary: Grace van Zyl

Treasurer: Temba Mkhize

Foundation: Oktavia Sangweni

Membership: Gustave Ololo


During COVID Lock-Down:

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86421787906

Normal: Johannesburg Country Club
1 Napier Road, Auckland Park


Zoom: 19:00 SAST (CAT)

Normal: Tuesdays: 18:30 for 19:00

Rotary in Africa - The beginning - Johannesburg

Rotary International was founded in 1905 by Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer, who wanted like-minded businessmen to become more involved in their communities. Since its early beginnings, the organisation has spread to thousands of communities in hundreds of countries globally.

The Rotary Club of Johannesburg was chartered in 1921 and was the first Rotary Club on the African continent thanks to Edward C. Fisher. Fisher had a mandate from the board of directors of the Association (to be known from 1922 onwards as Rotary International) to go ahead and charter a club if he thought it is possible. Needless to say, from this action, Rotary grew on the African continent to a formidable organization with 1,485 clubs and 33,644 members!

The Rotary Club of Johannesburg got involved in many projects and community initiatives in and around Johannesburg. Joining hands with clubs from Europe and America, funds were raised to build schools, clinics, and generally uplift communities in need.

The first service project of the Rotary Club of Johannesburg started with the organising of small Sunday night concerts at the Johannesburg General Hospital, a different ward being serenaded each week. Later, gramophone record recitals were provided as well under the aegis of the Service Committee. This activity was supplemented in December 1921 with a collection from members for the Christmas Fund. In 1922 the fund distributed GBP35 to the Johannesburg Children’s Home, Salvation Army Boys Home, and the Boys Hostel. In subsequent years parcels of groceries were distributed by Rotarians themselves on December 24th. Over time these concerts were extended to other charitable and convalescent institutions, such as the Rand Aid Association.

During the 1922 Miner’s Strike and civil war that followed a number of Rotarians from the Johannesburg Rotary Club were called upon to act as special constables or offered their vocational skills to assist with ameliorating problems in the Johannesburg area.

The Club was instrumental in forming the Publicity Association: In 1925 the Town Council of Johannesburg and other bodies attended a meeting convened by the Rotary Club of Johannesburg. Out of this grew the Johannesburg Publicity Association, with members drawn from the Town Council and many businesses and professions.

In 1931 the Club purchased a projector for the silent films now becoming very popular. Rotarian Tom Griffin led the Service Committee for a number of years, his exemplary service resulting in the committee being renamed Griff’s Service Committee. In 1952 the Club purchased two Bell and Howell 16mm sound projectors with the aid of the Rotary Club of Chicago. Demand for this much-appreciated Rotary service grew and so two more were purchased with sound. Eventually, the number of film shows exceeded 500 a year! This service finally folded in the early ’90s with the advent of easily accessible films on videotape.

Below are the charter members and their classifications

Amm R.Retail Grocer
Boustred W. F.Hardware
Brayshaw E. L.Conveyancing
Buchannan J.Electric Supplies
Campbell M.Nursery Man
Campbell J. D.Motorcar Distributor
Denhard J. E. Dr.Dentist
Dockrall B.Life insurance
Evans H. D.Paints
Fearnhead W.
Fern G.Efficiency Institute
Fisher E. C.
Frazer L. S.Oils
Forsyth G. A. Dr.Dentistry
Green F. V.Baldwin Locomotives
Hosken H.Lloyd's Agents
Hoskings E. O.Wholesale Soft Goods
Hay R. G.Tyres
Hungerford J.Explosives
Harris H.Rock Drills
Jones J. D.Lecturer
Leon P. A.Shipping
Leyds G. A.Fire Insurance
Leon C. H.Wholesale Soft Goods
Lyons H. P.  Rep. Bowater Coal Co.
Macdonald W. M. Dr. Editor
Mackay D.   Piano Retailer
Macmillan W. M. Prof Professor of History
Merkin J.   Notary
Nichols L. H.  Pipe Fitting Tools
Quinton H.   Accident Insurance
Raphael R.   Building Society
Reid C. W.  Architect
Roberts D. P.  Costumier
Rusterholtz R. W.  Air Compressors
Silcock B.   Company Secretary
Smith A.   Typewriters
Smith Y.   Wire Fencing Manufacturer
Stevenson P. J.  American Trade Commissioner
Store P. V.  Draper
Stokes F. A.  Accountant
Webster D.   Coal Broker
Wood H. G.  Secretary
Honorary Charter Members
Derham C. E.Y.M.C.A.
Harris F.Y.M.C.A.

Presidents of the Club

(including the RI President of the year)

1921 - 1970

1921 - 22Hubert HoskenEstes Snedecor | USA (1920/21)
Crawford McCullough | Canada
1922 - 23Perry J StevensonRaymond M Havens | USA
1923 - 24R W RusterholtzGuy Gundaker |USA
1924 - 25W FernheadEverret W Hill |USA
1925 - 26TWH McEwanDonald A Adams |USA
1926 - 27James GrayHarry H Rodgers |USA
1927 - 28W SealwoodArthur H Sapp | USA
1928 - 29A C ThiseltonI B Tom Sutton | Mexico
1929 - 30Perry WelshM Eugene Newsom |USA
Georg W Nelson
1930 - 31Harold MeyerAlmon E Roth |USA
1931 - 32Richard R CurrieSydney W Pascall | England
Dr L Erasmus Ellis
1932 - 33Hubert HoskenClinton P Anderson |USA
1933 - 34A H L BurmeisterJohn Nelson | Canada
1934 - 35A H l BurmeisterRobert E Lee Hill |USA
1935 - 36Capr H L SeligsonEd R Johnson |USA
1936 - 37Horace E BabbWill R Manier Jr. |USA
1937 - 38T Nimmo DewarMaurice Duperrey | France
1938 - 39J J WalkerGeorge G Hager |USA
1939 - 40Arthur BoydenWalter D Head |USA
1940 - 41Arthur BoydenArmano de Arruda Pereira | Brazil
1941 - 42Dr E J HamlinTom J Davis | USA
1942 - 43H S ReadFernando Carbajal | Peru
1943 - 44F G PaxtonCharles L Wheeler |USA
1944 - 45R HamiltonRichard H Wells |USA
1945 - 46F W CooperT A Warren | England
1946 - 47F S NicholdsRichard C Hedke |USA
1947 - 48Rev J B WebbS Kendrick Guernsev |USA
1948 - 49N F McMurrayAngus S Mitchell | Australia
1949 - 50Dr T D HallRpercy Hodgson | USA
1950 - 51G M BrownArthur Lagueux | Canada
1951 - 52I V HurdFrank E Spain | USA
1952 - 53A GrayH J Brunnier | USA
1953 - 54A D Mc PhailJoaquin Serratosa Cibils | Uruguay
1954 - 55H W AndersonHerbert j Taylor USA
1955 - 56C PikeA Z Baker | USA
1956 - 57I BarkhysenGian Paolo Lang | Italy
1957 - 58E D OrrCharles G Tennent | USA
1958 - 59H FalconerCliffort A Randall | USA
1959 - 60F F BinswangerHarold T Thomas | New Zealand
1960 - 61S F DenchJ Edd McLaughlin | USA
1961 - 62D G PaxtonJoseph A Abey | USA
1962 - 63M H EddyNitish C Laharry | India
1963 - 64D P DriverCarl P Miller | USA
1964 - 65C L ColesCharles W Pettengill | USA
1965 - 66H G BoschC P H Teenstra | Netherlands
1966 - 67F N HaslettRicharl L Evans | USA
1967 - 68G A MacWhirterLuther H Hodges | USA
1968 - 69WG MidgleyKiyoshi Togasaki | Japan 
1969 - 70J H N BrebnerJames F Conway | USA
1970 - 71D L JonesWilliam E Walk | USA

1970 - 2023

1971 - 72N C JacksonErnst G Breitholtz | Sweden
1972 - 73W K F FowlerRoy D Hickman | USA
1973 - 74H W HolsteynWilliam C Carter | England
1974 - 75T C EalesWilliam R Robbins | USA
1975 - 76Dr H S HurwitzErnesto Imbassahy de Mello | Brazil
1976 - 77Rev S G PittsRobert Manchester II | USA
1977 - 78C J SladeW Jack Davis | Bermuda
1978 - 79W G JordaanClem Renouf | Australia
1979 - 80J FosterJames L Bomar Jr. | USA
1980 - 81L A LucasBullRolf Klärich | Finland
1981 - 82C G CorbettStanley E McCaffrey | USA
1982 - 83A Van Der BijlHiroji Mukasa | Japan
1983 - 84J PennyWilliam E Skelton | USA
1984 - 85I L AllanCarlos Canseco González| Mexico
1985 - 86A D TewEdward F Cadman | USA
1986 - 87F D R BelfordM A T Caparas | Phillippines
1987 - 88H R HiggensCharles C Keller | USA
1988 - 89R M BelinskyRoyce Abbey | Australia
1989 - 90R JamesHugh M Archer | USA
1990 - 91V L VealePaulo V C Costa | Brazil
1991 - 92M C MunsieRajendra K Saboo | India
1992 - 93A V PienaarClifford L Dochterman | USA
1993 - 94G MillerRobert R Barth | Switzerland
1994 - 95D A GordonWilliam H Huntley | England
1995 - 96I C AndersonHerbert G Brown | USA
1996 - 97W McGrawLuis Vicente Giav | Argentina
1997 - 98D MeiselGlen W Kinross | Australia
1998 - 99H VolkinsveldJames L Lacy | USA
1999 - 00M CoetzeeCarlo Ravizza | Italy
2000 - 01Mrs J HodgesFrank J Devlyn | Mexico
2001 - 02A BarclayRichard D King | USA
2002 - 03P D AlexanderBhichai Rattakul | Thailand
2003 - 04R NastriJonathan B Majivagbe | Nigeria
2004 - 05Mrs A MostertGlenn E Estress Sr. | USA
2005 - 06C StrydomCarl-Willhelm Stenhammar | Sweden
2006 - 07P van SchaardenburghWilliam Boyd | New Zealand
2007 - 08T HimeWilfred J Wilkinson | Canada
2008 - 09D CrossleyDong Kurn Lee | Korea
2009 - 10Mrs J HodgesJohn Kenny | Scotland
N van Santen
2010 - 11R StoneRay Klinginsmith | USA
2011 - 12M MoriartyKaylan Bannerjee | India
2012 - 13L VercueilSakuji Tanaka | Japan
2013 - 14R StoneRon D Burton | USA
2014 - 15Ms L VilakaziGary C K Huang | Taiwan
2015 - 16Mrs C C HaakK R (Ravi) Ravindran | Sri Lanka
2016 - 17C AlexanderJohn F Germ | USA
2017 - 18Mrs C C HaakIan H S Riseley | Australia
2018 - 19A BillingBarry Rassin | Bahamas
2019 - 20Mrs G van ZylMark Daniel Maloney | USA
2020 - 21Mrs G van ZylHolger Knaack | Germany
2021 - 2022Dr. A LongShekhar Metha | India
2022 - 2023Nick WoodJennifer Jones | Canada


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