The night was cold, but supporting such a great initiative meant braving the chilly weather was completely worth it.
The setting was The Maslow hotel in Sandton, a posh backdrop that had some hectic moments during the evening.
It’s Not About Me is a nongovernment organisation which supports abused women and children.
The organisation hosted a fundraising gala dinner which also celebrated the opening of two homes in the south of Johannesburg. The homes will be used as safe houses for survivors.
The opening drinks on the night got the crowd warmed up.
Among the guests were Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba, MMC for safety Michael Sun and Johannesburg Metro Police Department chief David Tembe.
The glitzy dinner table décor included tissue containers, which made me suspect that we were in for an emotional evening.
Hot TV personality (he’s absolutely HOT) Zweli Dube, who was emcee for the evening, also confirmed my suspicions when he welcomed guests and mentioned the tissues on the tables.
After formal introductions, the mood got sombre when the guests watched a video projection of the horrible rape and abuse statistics in the country. Three women and a man – Debbie Hanekom, Barbara Vos, Florinda Daniel and Paul Anaro – got onto the stage and shared their horror stories of abuse.
“There was a time I remember being repeatedly raped, sometimes more than 10 times a day,” said rape survivor Vos.
Yup, the tissues came in handy for real as some of us got teary-eyed. Anaro emphasised that abuse and, particularly in his case, rape does happen to men. He said that his family didn’t know about his ordeal.
However, the sombre moments were quickly followed by a dance intermission before more speeches by different speakers.
Mashaba was so impressed by Dube that he wished he was his son-in-law.
But Dube dampened the mayor’s spirits when he introduced his partner who was in the audience.
Mashaba didn’t feel hard done by as he donated R50 000 to the organisation, which added to the few grands raised from the auction.
Unfortunately, I missed the desserts as the event dragged on and on. But I loved the initiative, it was a great cause to dress up for and donate a few rands, well, in my case.