A glittering fund-raiser dinner and auction at the Tintswalo Atlantic lodge raised R300 000 for Thula Thula Hout Bay, the organisation that has been at the forefront of relief efforts in the wake of fires in the area.
The second annual Phoenix Charity Dinner was aimed at commemorating the Western Cape fires of 2015 which also claimed the original lodge.
Former Miss South Africa and Top Billing presenter Jo-Ann Strauss was the MC, while music was provided by singer and songwriter Ard Matthews and The Johnny Utah Project.
While Thula Thula had already been identified as the beneficiary of this year’s event, the monies raised by the Phoenix dinner could not have come at a better time given the devastating fires that left more than 10 000 Imizamo Yethu residents homeless in March.
Ms Strauss paid tribute to Thula Thula, saying the organisation had helped thousands of people and should be commended for all it had done for the people of Hout Bay.
Her sentiments were echoed by Tintswalo Atlantic chief executive Lisa Goosen.
“I have never seen somebody work as hard as (Thula Thula founder) Joanne Chemaly. The work that she and her team are doing is incredible, and we just want to thank everyone for supporting this event.”
Guests were dressed to the nines for the occasion, and after enjoying cocktails and dishes that included seared seabass, duck breast, black angus fillet and thyme kingklip, they set about bidding on more than 20 luxury items put up for auction.
Everything from rugby jerseys and prize artworks to overseas holidays were snapped up by guests, who revelled in the spirit of the event and were more than happy to open their hearts and wallets for a good cause.
They were also shown a dramatic video insert, produced by Hout Bay’s Emma Watkin, which showed the extent of the damage caused by the March fires and the lengths Thula Thula is going to in order to bring relief to the community.
Ms Chemaly said the funds raised by Tintswalo and their “generous guests” would allow Thula Thula to work on a proactive education programme, including risk interventions.
“We have been in discussions since late last year, with Disaster Risk Management, Fire and Rescue, City and councillor Roberto Quintas, in order to decide on the most impactful, educational interventions, risk reduction options and early warning devises of choice,” she said.
“One such example is to roll out sustainable energy solutions, such as solar lighting which not only reduces footprint and electricity costs, but also reduces fire risk by eliminating candles, lanterns, paraffin and reduces the use of gas lighting.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution but we have a vision and a starting point and with generosity like we have been privileged to receive from Tintswala, the amazing partnership between Disaster Risk Management, City and Fire, we all have a shared vision – to reduce fire risk and save not only property, but most importantly lives, we have a winning recipe that will succeed.”