How to be a gentleman, for R4000

19 July 2013 - 02:37
Cash. File photo.
Image: Reuben Goldberg Cash. File photo.

Sometimes South Africans can be downright onbeskof or tjatjarag. But Courtenay Carey has been courteous enough to start The South African School of Etiquette to change all that.

Carey and her mother, Sharon, opened the school's doors in May at the five-star Le Chatelat Residence in Sandhurst, Johannesburg.

"We recognised and identified a lack of social skills and [an inability in] individuals to express themselves confidently and clearly," said Carey, who has a Bachelor of Social Science degree in politics, philosophy and economics, and who also went to the Protocol School of Washington.

"Owing to our country's history, social skills were not necessarily taught due to absent parents, inadequate education and cultural differences.

"The world has become more technologically connected; however it is causing a social disconnection. Our social intelligence is suffering due to the loss of face-to-face interaction."

She said one of the biggest problems in South Africa, that cuts across racial lines, is the lack of "common courtesies", such as greeting someone "politely" before speaking to them.

Since the opening of the school, Carey has seen many corporate clients, teenagers and clients who lack confidence.

The courses, which start at R3950, include:

  • "How To Be A Gentleman", in which men are taught, among other things, grooming, being chivalrous to women, and toasting;
  • "The Art of Dining", which offers instruction in "cutlery navigation" and wine etiquette;
  • "Outshine the Competition", which includes how to work a room; and
  • "Finishing School for Teens", which covers conversational skills, appropriate wear and table manners.

The Le Chatelat Residence guesthouse, owned by Sharon, includes an ornate cigar and whisky lounge .

Corporate motivational speaker Fraser Carey will also address students .

Courtenay said she plans to open schools elsewhere in South Africa and hopes to be granted Seta accreditation.