Robert Gumede entertains 12 000 kids at 51st birthday party

2014-08-10 06:00

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Flamboyant businessman Robert Gumede has a simple motto in life: Go big or go home.

To live up to it, the multimillionaire yesterday threw a party for 12 000 children to celebrate his 51st birthday.

The extravagant party was hosted at the Kabokweni Stadium outside Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.

Everything was big and pricey: Harley-Davidsons, Range Rovers, Ferraris and Porsches, a huge carnival and an equally big birthday cake and premium alcoholic drinks for the adult guests.

For the younger partygoers, there were machines dispensing sweets, popcorn and slushie drinks.

Gumede ordered more than 12 000 McDonald’s meals for the children, who had been bussed in from across the province.

The softspoken birthday boy, who made most of his money through the controversial IT solutions company Gijima, looked sleek in a celebratory outfit.

He wore a pair of blue Zilli shoes, a purple-blue shirt, Torras pants, a black, crocodile-skin Louis Vuitton belt and a Roger Dubuis watch.

His red Ferrari was parked in the middle of the stadium’s pitch, next to his son’s Porsche.

Gumede told City Press: “They say, ‘Go big or go home’ and I always go big.

“But it’s not for me, it’s for the people. I am a man of the community.”

Gumede was born in KaNyamazane in the former KaNgwane homeland.

As part of his community outreach programme, Gumede has sponsored 15 youngsters from Mpumalanga to study accounting, law and engineering at Wits and the Universities of Pretoria and Joburg.

He also donated two furnished houses to the families of two children at his party yesterday.

He said nothing made him happier than to see the children racing up and down and yelling happily at the carnival.

“The children are living the life I wanted to live as a five-year-old. I yearned for it, but unfortunately my parents couldn’t afford it. Now that God has blessed me, what better way to celebrate it than to do it with these little people? When you look at these happy faces, it’s humbling. When we grew up, chips were everybody’s wildest dream. Now it’s McDonald’s, which is why I bought them these meals.”

Gumede was flanked by his wife Portia, seven children and Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza.

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