Corporate Social Review

ARTICLE: Rocking for Room 13

ARTICLE: Rocking for Room 13

 Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.  Imagination is everything.”

Modern research has found that art education (painting, drawing, sculpting, singing, storytelling, poetry, drama, etc.) strengthens problem-solving and critical thinking skills, since the experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating carries over into other parts of life.  When children are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives.  These studies further indicated that there is a direct correlation between art and other areas of achievement demonstrating that young people who participated regularly in the arts are four times more like to be recognized for academic achievement than children who do not participate.  In short the arts develop:

  • Fine motor skills.
  • Language skills.
  • Visual learning.
  • Social and emotional skills.
  • Problem solving skills.
  • Decision making skills.
  • Inventiveness.
  • Improved academic performance.

But we live in a world where knowledge is equated with power and art education has come to be viewed as a luxury and consequently dropped from the school curriculum in most disadvantaged school communities.

Reg Lascaris and John Hunt saw the need and opened Room 13, according to the website “Room 13 is a place where imagination can run free.  It is a place for children to go after school and express their creativity through painting, drawing, drama, poetry and storytelling, any form of artistic expression they desire.”  The students run the school as a business, forming their own management team and choosing the artist-in-residence and so learn about the arts, how to run a business and life skills.  This TWBA, CSR programme is currently running in xx disadvantaged primary and high schools, nationally catering to xxx children.

On the 13th November, Reg Lascaris and John Hunt organized a charity event aimed at raising funds for Room 13.  Rockin’ for Room 13, was held at the Barnyard Theater and high profile business leaders, CEOs and company directors performed live on stage to a sell out crowd of 500 people, for one night only to raise money to help and sustain this project.  The lineup included:

  • Dave Munro (Chief Executive for Corporate & Investment Banking, Standard Bank) on drums performing We Will Rock You and Because We can.
  • Gareth Cliff (Radio DJ, 5FM) allowed us to be the “Idol judges” and sang Come Together and You Shook Me All Night Long.
  • Reg Lascaris (Founder of Hunt Lascaris and President for TBWA/Africa/Middle East) brought energy, drive and passion to his rendition of Mustang Sally, Runaway, Wild Thing and In the Midnight Hour.
  • Rowan Smith (Director, Shanduka) an accomplished piano player, got audience on their feet with Billy Joel’s Piano Man.
  • Ben Kruger (CEO of Standard Bank) sang Have you ever seen the rain and sang and played the guitar to Paint It Black.
  • Lee-Anne Shepherd (Marketing Director, Diners Club) and Hester Hahn (Marketing Projects and Event Manager, Diners Club) treated us to a sultry, sizzling hot dance and song routine of Fever and One way or Another.
  • Peter Schoeman (Divisional Director, Sales and Marketing City Lodge Hotels) and Alastair Dooley (? City Lodge Hotels) brought the house down and got the crowd rocking in the aisles as they performed Summertime and sang the blues with Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.
  • Peter Matlare (CEO, Tiger Brands) on piano sang Feelings and How was I to Know.
  • Clem Sunter (Scenario Planner and Ex-chairman of Anglo American Chairman’s Fund) entertained us with a quick trip down memory lane as he shared amusing and interesting snippets from his own life and demonstrating that he is not only talented in business but a talented musician who once shared the stage with the Rolling Stones.  Playing the acoustic guitar he performed My Darling Clemantine, Blue Suede Shoes, Peggy Sue, Your Sixteen, Your Beautiful and Your Mine.
  • Ian Fuhr (Founder and CEO, Sorbet) with his deep husky voice, gave an incredible performance of If I Were a Rich Man and Mack the knife.
  • Paul Edwards (Executive Chairman, Merryn Capital) played guitar and sang Make You Feel My Love, One and Hotel California.
  • Neil Hobkirk (Marketing Director, Appletiser) sang Imagine, Don’t Look Back in Anger and American Pie.
  • Jen Su (Radio Presenter, 5FM’s The Hollywood Report) with a voice to equal any super star, sang you’ve got a Friend and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

The evening ended with all the performers taking to the stage and singing the anthem for Room 13, Rockin’ for Room 13 (Rocking all over the world). The idea that “imagination is everything” and that art education is vital to the development of the child is appealing but the genius behind these performers is that they were prepared to put themselves on the line for the children of Room 13 and in doing so transform the idea into a lived experience.  An experience in which we, as the audience, felt the drive, the passion, the numinous transformation that art brings to the individual.  I left the performance introspective and inspired, as I began to examine my own life and all the ways in which I am so often afraid to go out on a limb and live my passions.  I came to watch a show and left exhilarated, inspired, charged and changed and therein lies the true gift of the arts!

To support this initiative and buy the children’s art visit


Thanks to Marie Jamieson