Philanthropists of great means and those of small (that’s you and me) were called to dig deep for Nelson Mandela’s dearest wish – a dedicated children’s hospital.
The call was led by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane – wearing a bright-red power suit – during a cold morning breakfast fundraiser at Emoyeni in Parktown, where the mist was too thick for anyone to enjoy the magnificent views.
City Press has been running a series of features on philanthropists from South Africa and Africa since May. Two weeks ago we featured Tim Tebeila, and this week this generous man and his wife, Pollet Tebeila, made yet another significant contribution to creating a better South Africa.
There was a buzz before the breakfast started that when the pledging started the Tebeilas would have a big surprise.
The premier began the pledging with a cheque for R10 000, then the Tim Tebeila Foundation pledged a generous R5 million, handing over the first million there and then while the waiters where handing out scrambled eggs.
The most notable corporate donations were from South African Breweries (R70 000) and Simphiwe Dhlomo Yem Yem Industries, who handed over R100 000, but there are a lot of bricks still needed in these walls and the ground-breaking was supposed to happen last year. The bricks are a mere R2 each, so I bought 500 – getting a little taste of how good giving makes you feel.
A pity more than just those of us lucky enough to have cracked the nod to the breakfast couldn’t have heard the short speech given by the brave Anice Kruger, mother of even braver little Pippie.
Kruger’s account of the difficulty of getting Pippie help quick enough was more powerful than the rallying call of all the other speakers put together. The Krugers personified the statistics – Africa has 250 million children and only four dedicated children’s hospitals on the continent. Canada has a total population of 20 million and that country has 19 children’s hospitals. As Mokonyane said this project “is about the African child”.
MC for the event, Andile Khumalo, an accountant with flair and a sense of humour (“Why did the accountant cross the road? To bore the people on the other side.”), ensured that things clipped along nicely and he made a good “debt collector”.
The only off note was when Thabiso Sikwane, former Kaya FM presenter and ambassador of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, invited the premier to lead a prayer. Hardly appropriate at an event hosted by a secular government body.
» Visit www.nelsonmandelachildrenshospital.org or SMS gift to 40301 to donate R20.
» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala
» You can read all the Q&As with the philanthropists previously featured in City Press at www.citypress.co.za.
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