Clowning around is no funny business for Kenilworth’s Joey Burke; it’s a way to bring cheer to those in need and one of the many ways he tries to give back and raise money for charity.
Mr Burke, who has been an auctioneer for 39 years, raised
R5million in the last two months for various charities all over the Western Cape and he sat down with the Tatler on Monday December 4 to tell us how he did it.
“My claim to fame is my song I sing at the beginning of every event. It goes ‘Molweni, gooie dag, good evening, friends. Only warm wishes friar sends. This is an auction song for you, to make a bid for the good cause too. Do it on behalf of the foundation for the South African nation.’
“Auctioning is my passion. My dad was an auctioneer and I would write down the records of the auction when I was 12. One day he needed to go to the bathroom during an auction and he told me to get on stage. He said, ‘Ladies and gentleman, presenting the best auctioneer, and he put me on the pedestal. It was an amazing success. From that day, I begged him to let me do it again,” said Mr Burke.
Since then he has hosted auctions in aid of charity organisations all over the Western Cape. Although it is his passion, he did venture off the beaten track while staying in Zimbabwe where he worked as a clown called Jojo.
“I was quite famous for being the only clown in Zimbabwe. Politicians use to joke in court saying, ‘Don’t behave like Jojo the clown.’ That was me. I had a TV show and a radio show. I still auction off Jojo the clown to raise money for charity,” said Mr Burke with a smile.
After leaving Zimbabwe in 2000, due to the political situation, Mr Burke came to South Africa with his wife and barely any possessions. He hit the streets and knocked on doors to find work as an auctioneer and managed to land a few jobs which kept him afloat.
He has since gone on to auction high-end goods for millions of rand, including a house sold in Durban for R161 million, diamonds and a picture of Nelson Mandela boxing with Muhammad Ali which was bought by Corrs singer, Sharon Corr for
He said the last three months have been a wave of excitement, as he broke all his records by raising the R5m for various charities.
Next year Mr Burke will be hosting auctions for organisations such as ABC for Life education trust in Hout Bay, Soil for Life, the Amy Foundation and the Dassenberg Horse Rescue Centre
“Charity auctions are my passion because I love to see the organisers’ faces when I break their records and raise them more than expected. I will not stop until the target is reached or broken.
“If people want a charity auction, they start with me and I help them put together packages such as Tea with Desmond Tutu. I’m there from start to finish. I’m so amazed by the generosity of the public in times like these. You have top people bidding because they love the cause,” said Mr Burke.
If you would like to find out more about Mr Burke and his auctioning ventures, visit www.joeyburke.co.za