Showcasing their good work for good returns

Candace Vermaak, right and Toni Mould, of Bridging Abilities.

Cape Town’s beautiful people descended on City Hall in their hundreds at the weekend for the annual 5 for Change Charitable Gala, which saw five local beneficiaries presented with the opportunity to showcase their programmes to potential investors.

Saturday July 2 proved to be a night to remember for guests as they sipped high-end bubbly and nibbled on canapès to seductive sounds and performances by Valve State, Pop Art Live, Crazy White Boy, DJ West and George Sax.

The black-tie affair drew the interest of the city’s young social elite, with the soiree seeing thousands of rand being raised in exchange for drinks coupons which were readily transacted at the numerous bar stations around the hall.

An auction of luxury items and getaways, totalling well in excess of R100 000, was also held.

Ultimately the grand occasion was about the beneficiaries, whose work ranges from social outreach programmes in Cape Town’s townships to education upliftment initiatives within the metro.

Rondebosch-based Code4CT equips high potential female pupils with the coding, problem-solving and life skills that will allow them to leverage technology to contribute meaningfully to the country’s innovation system.

Code4CT founder Emma Dicks told the Tatler said the organisation, which was established in 2014, aimed to break down perceptions that girls and young women could not learn to code and rival their male counterparts in the field.

“The girls all come from diverse backgrounds, and we operate in the CBD, Rondebosch as well as Stellenbosch,” she added.

Another enterprising initiative is Bulelani Futshane and Nosisa Mhlati’s Township Roots organisation, focusing on primary and high school children in Philippi and Nyanga.

“Our organisation was born out of the need to address literacy levels in schools. There have been studies which indicated that in disadvantaged areas some 58% percent of children in Grade 4 are illiterate,” Mr Futshane said.

“So our goal is to improve literacy, but we also place our focus on those children who might have missed out on opportunities earlier in life.”

Ms Mhlati added that money raised from the gala would go towards extending their programme, including music and drama and sports programmes for the 300 pupils that currently are served by the initiative.

iKasi Youth, which has enjoyed considerable success in empowering young boys from the Imizamo Yethu township community of Hout Bay since 2013, has recognised the importance of digitising its operations going forward, and would be using its funds for these purposes.

Director Nathan Roberts explained that the organisation intended furthering its mentoring programme by creating a “replicable solution for aftercare” on digital platforms.

“We have a big victim mentality in Imizamo Yethu, and we want to flip that around. Under our programme we have had disabled people who have attained great success through sheer force of will, and we want to show the community that anything is possible,” he said.

Two other beneficiaries have also made tremendous strides in the past few years. Stellenbosch’s Bridging Abilities, started in 2009 by Candace Vermaak and Toni Mould, has enriched the lives of people with disabilities and recreation, while Cape Town tech start-up Lumkani seeks to minimise the loss of life and property caused by slum fires in the country and across the globe.

With a simple device, Lumkani uses heat detection rather than smoke detection to sense fires that may arise from rudimentary cooking, lighting and heating methods in informal settlements.