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Prior to a decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court in 1987, Rotary was a men’s only organization and so, in many clubs, the wives of the members were called “Rotary Anns.”

The term Rotary Ann started in 1914 when San Francisco Rotarians boarded a special train to attend the Rotary International Convention being held in Houston. In those days few wives attended Rotary events and until the train stopped in Los Angeles, the only woman aboard was the wife of Rotarian Brunnier.  As the train picked up additional convention-bound delegates, Mrs. Ann Brunnier was introduced as the Rotarian’s Ann. This title soon became “Rotary Ann.”

Our club has a small but dedicated group of Rotary Anns who assist us with our projects besides running their own projects. They meet monthly at each other’s homes and join our meetings every 5th Thursday after which we all go out to dinner together.


One of the projects that our Anns have been involved in includes the Durban Botanical Gardens Tea Kiosk.  For over 30 years the Anns have been serving delicious scones and crumpets on the 3rd Wednesday of every month.  Their involvement was started by Denise Steele who sadly passed away in September 2015. The Anns enthusiasm for volunteering at the kiosk has not waned though.  The Kiosk was established in 1963 in order to generate income to supply tuberculosis patients with food parcels as they cannot take the medication on an empty stomach. Almost 50 Women’s organisations volunteer their time to ensure the running of this Durban landmark continues.

Anns at Bot Gardens
Yvonne de Broglio, Veronica Raaff and Janet McDermott at the Botanical Gardens Tea Kiosk

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The delicious scones and crumpets served at the Durban Botanical Gardens Tea Kiosk.

The most beautiful setting to enjoy a cuppa.
The most beautiful setting to enjoy a cuppa.

Rotary Ann Prayer

Keep us O Lord, from pettiness; let us be large in thought, in word and deed.

Let us be done with fault finding and leave self-seeking.

May we put away all pretence and meet each other face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice.

May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.

Teach us to put into action our better impulses straight forward and unafraid.

Let us take time for all things.

Make us grow calm, serene, and gentle.

Grant that we may realise that it is the little things that create differences; that in the big things of life we are one.

And may we strive to touch and know the great human heart common to us all and, O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind.