Thursday, April 18, 2024

High Tea is no mere bridge between lunch and dinner

Finger-sized sandwiches, scones, cream cakes, a bottle of bubbly wine, or tea served on some of the finest china, and a couple of high profile guest speakers.
This is the kind of menu you can expect at a typical High Tea event provided, of course, you part with a few hundred bucks for the ticket price.
In some developed countries a High Tea party is seen as a social formality symbolic of class and elegance, a social gathering but with lots of style and etiquette.
Such events would more often than not be held at expensive hotels and restaurants where guests enjoy tea and a variety of snacks.
Now the concept seems to be in vogue here in Botswana. Lifestyle did a little investigation to find out the real reason(s) behind the idea.
“As women it presents a perfect forum to network on various issues of concern,” says social commentator and counsellor, Ntombi Setshwaelo. “It’s just a social platform for the empowerment of women.”
Setshwaelo says unlike women, men have numerous platforms like bars or similar places where they get to discuss issues concerning them.
But do the High Teas serve their intended purpose?
“Like any other forum, it depends on the quality and organisation of the particular event,” Setshwaelo says.
“Some events can deteriorate into drunken outbursts of man-bashing and whining about trivial stuff. But the very well organised high-calibre High Teas would always attract a reasonable amount of good feedback from the attendees.”
She says the gatherings can be extremely vital and pivotal to the development of women.
Each gathering, Setshwaelo says, is invariably based on a particular theme or topic of discussion ranging from parenting, careers, and politics to leadership.
“Women have certain limitations that put us at a disadvantage and as such we need to sharpen our skills in order to become better parents, partners, sisters and leaders.”
Setshwaelo says there is a misconception that whenever women meet to talk about something it is always to do with men.
She also advices those who have been to a poorly organised High Tea, bridal or baby shower, or any similar gathering not to despair and feel such events are useless.
“Do not throw away the baby with the bath water,” she says. “With the right attitude and planning one can learn a lot from such events.”
Zenzele Hirschfield hosted a High Tea event recently and shares Setshwaelo’s view that such platforms are crucial for one’s development.
“It’s a platform for women to talk about women issues and share different approaches to solving the issues at hand,” she says.
Hirschfield, for whom annual Miss Millennium Jazz Restaurant is a brainchild, says the High Tea she hosted recently aimed to come up with ideas to grow the pageant as well as deal with other social responsibilities affecting women.
“I called people from different fields of expertise to share their skills and experiences with other women. As women we have the responsibility of delivering as a mother, wife, career or business woman.”
She says the concept provides a relaxed atmosphere for women to discuss whatever is on the agenda over a cup of tea, champagne or wine.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Women’s League has a High Tea event scheduled for end of March.
Chairperson Caroline Lesang says besides discussing women issues the event also aims to raise funds.
“The money will be used to train women and impart leadership and negotiation skills among other issues,” she says. “We have invited the Kenyan High Commissioner to Botswana Jean Kimani to share her personal and career experiences with the women.”
Whatever the case, it seems afternoon tea is not always just a mere bridge between lunch and dinner. It has now becomes a social platform for personal development.


Read this week's paper