Madiba dinner sparks hope and raises funds

Mona and Vis Naidoo share the same amount of passion and enthusiasm in their quest to make a positive impact on the world.

Power couple, Vis and Mona Naidoo, recently hosted their second annual Friends of Madiba Benefit Dinner in aid of Trek4Mandela and Caring for Girls.

The event was held at the plush La Vie en Rose in Killarney Club.

“It’s a wonderful gift making another human being’s life better,” said an enthusiastic Mona.

Vis and Mona are dedicated to fulfilling Madiba’s legacy – to build the country of our dreams.

They speak with passion and enthusiasm, and it is clear that they are both committed to making the world a better place.

After successfully summiting Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, in July 2016, the two were inspired to contribute even more to the well-being of their fellow human beings.

“During the climb we realised that there’s more to being here on earth,” said Mona.

“Once we got involved, we didn’t want it to be a once-off experience; we wanted it to be a lifetime of giving back. To make a change you don’t have to do something big – you start where you can and do something small. It all started when we were invited to an event where we met Madiba’s friend who was also one of his photographers. “We then wanted to have a dinner where people could come and hear stories, as well as meet people who walked with Madiba and see him through the eyes of his friends,” added Vis.

In 2016 the couple managed to raise R150 000, which enabled 1030 girls to be provided with sanitary pads for a 12-month period.

The beneficiaries of the sanitary pads were 780 girls from Winile Secondary School, and 250 girls from the Naidoo’s former high school in Durban, Westcliff Secondary.

“The benefit dinner aims to bring back the hope that Madiba gave people, which we have forgotten. Through the dinner we want people’s hope to be resurrected,” said Mona.

Speakers at the dinner included founder of Trek4Mandela, Imbumba Foundation and the Vision 20/20 Youth Leadership Programme, Richard Mabaso; designer of the Madiba shirts, Desre Buirski; self-taught artist, Ossie Dowery; one of Madiba’s photographer’s Peter Morey, and Andrè van den Berg from the SA Gold Coin Exchange.

Guests enjoyed dinner whilst being inspired by speakers sharing their experience about Madiba and in the end, an auction was held of Madiba-inspired mementos, as well as other high-end sponsored packages.

Proceeds will go to the Caring for Girls project as well as Imbumba Foundation’s Youth Leadership Vision 20/20 program.

Vis and Mona are custodians of the programme which aims to deliver self-leadership training to school learners to inspire them to have a personal vision bigger than themselves.

“We teach school kids to transcend their circumstances and to have a vision that is not just about ‘me’, but a vision that will effect change, and have a ripple effect on their families and communities,” explained Vis.

The power couple did not climb Mount ‘Kili’ (as they refer to it) this year because their main focus was on organising the dinner. But in a heartbeat they would jump at the opportunity to relive the experience.

“If you told us to pack a bag now, we’d be go,” said an excited Mona.

Vis and Mona have an infectious zeal for life; they have been married for 23 years and have a 22-year-old son.

They are inspired by five-star travel, game viewing, food, spectacular experiences, life, excitement, adventure, meeting amazing people and seeing people grow.

“We love meeting new amazing people, whether they are at an upmarket exclusive event, or in a remote rural area,” pointed out Mona.

The Naidoo’s believe in real people, doing real things to effect real change.

Tumelo Mthethwa

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