The Owl Club of Cape Town, South Africa (formed in 1894), is a social meeting place for all those with an interest in the liberal arts and sciences. The monthly meetings include an evening of fellowship, fine dining, stimulating conversation, presentations by acclaimed speakers and live musical performances.

Whereas Membership of The Owl Club is by invitation only, anyone wishing to learn more about the Club is invited to contact the Secretary. Over its long and distinguished history, the Club has hosted many prestigious writers, artists, scientists, explorers and politicians but it remains, characteristically, discreet about these.

Background to the name

It was the wife of the first Secretary, C. G. Lowinger, who coined the name. Four founder members sat in the twilight, in the garden of the Lowinger’s house in Cape Town, discussing what the Club should be called. And then: “… Into the gathered darkness came Mrs Lowinger with the natural inquiry, ‘Why are you all sitting here in the dark like a lot of owls?’ ‘The very name for our Club!’ they cried, and The Owl Club it was called and remains …” (Malcolm, 1959). The first formal meeting of The Owl Club took place on 1st October 1894.

Location of the Club

Down the years, The Owl Club has met in various venues in the city of Cape Town. Between 1975 and 1998 it met at the Cape Town Club (formerly the City & Civil Service Club) in Queen Victoria Street. Since 1998, the venue for meetings has been the Kelvin Grove Club in Newlands, Cape Town.


The Club’s Constitution entrusts the management of the Club to a committee, elected annually. The Current Committee is

  • President
  • Immediate Past President
  • Senior Vice-President
  • Junior Vice-President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Additional Members

As an indication that Owls do not take themselves that seriously, the Club refers to

  • The treasurer as the Fiscal Shrike
  • The secretary as its secretary bird
  • The member responsible for communication and the production of a monthly Notice, its Sociable Weaver
  • The member responsible for arranging talks as the Familiar Chat
  • The member responsible for the music programme, the Chorister Robin

— all birds!