By: Ayabonga Ngoma
A whopping R1.6 million was raised at this year’s 2nd annual Save the Children Fundraising Gala dinner, aptly themed ‘An Africa Re-imagined’. This amount donated by guests and sponsors including Nedbank Foundation, will all go towards their work in ensuring better lives and futures for South Africa’s children in need. This all came together last week Wednesday with a full house attendance at The Maslow Hotel conference centre in Sandton.
Upon arrival guests were encouraged to take a snap with the Save the Children Instagram frame and walk through to have welcome drinks. All this while viewing standing posters outlining the story of the organisation and the work they currently do in creating reimagined brighter futures for children in SA. Designer Liz Ogumbo showcased an interactive experience of her line of afro-futuristic fashion and artist Senzo Shabangu displayed a selection of his spectacular artwork.
Once everyone had settled in and complemented one another on their outfits everyone was ushered into a beautifully set dining area and treated to a thought provoking performance led by actor Simpho Mathenjwa. Simpho known only as ‘The Oracle’ that evening, carried on the theme of the night with several appearances in a continuous production with other talented actors. The charming MC of the night Lesley Nkosi introduced other great performers like Bo, from the boy-band Denim, who gave an electric performance accompanied by Dorah’s Dancers, and Given Mabena who gave us an opera number that had everyone gagging.
The starters came out and so did the ever-persuasive auctioneer from MSCSPORTS who loosened the guests up and auctioned off sports memorabilia, fashion items and paintings all which contributed towards the massive fundraising amount. In-between the exciting auctioning action, dinner was served and we were treated to more A-list performances from pop darling LeAnne Dlamini. Save the Children South Africa CEO Gugu Ndebele (in a banging outfit change moment) came up to give a heart-warming account of the involvement of the organisation in South Africa and gave thanks to all the sponsors.
Save the Children South Africa’s very own ambassador, award-winning actress, Terry Pheto along with chosen influencers; actresses Zikhona Sodlaka and Mampho Brescia with TV-personality Janez Vermeiren got up and called out various raffle winners who walked away with great prizes including a dress by Ouma Tema from Plus Fab.
During the gala dinner, the children’s rights organisation launched their Festive Season campaign ‘Bags of Hope’ – in partnership with Uzwelo Bags. By purchasing a high-end fashion bag from the Bags of Hope collection, a school bag is donated to a child in need. The best part is that these school bags are specially designed with a waterproof poncho to protect children and their school books when it rains. Each bag from the campaign was auctioned off to much excitement with gala organizer and now bag designer, Rodney Knotts, even bidding against a guest for a gorgeous travel bag.
To wrap up the night after a sweet dessert serving, headliners of the night The Soil got everyone on their feet and on the dancefloor with some of their hits and some old favourites. They were followed by Motown inspired cover band, Ultimate Sound who carried on the celebrations until closing.
An amazing night was had by all, and more importantly the R1.6 million that was raised will certainly go to good use in the trusted hands of Save the Children South Africa super team. An #AfricaReimagined is a possibility indeed!
To purchase a bag or to find out more about ‘Bags of Hope’, visit Uzwelo
To donate and support Save the Children South Africa visit www.savethechildren.org.za/donate
Ayabonga is just a small town boy, livin’ in Johustleburg. Governed by music. An extroverted introvert. Curious mind, but never nosy. Engineer who is a wannabe creative. Find him on Twitter: @Ayab0nga