FEEL GOOD | Walking the walk: Veteran philanthropist, 91, determined to raise R108m to feed the hungry

Solly Krok, 91.
Solly Krok, 91.
Supplied by Jenny Griesel Communications

One of South Africa's iconic citizens, Solly Krok, has committed to raise R108 million from international and local communities to help feed vulnerable people in South Africa.

In the Jewish tradition, the number 18 symbolises life and good things, so Krok has made 108 his goal because he wants to "help give people life". 

Coinciding with his 91st birthday on Thursday, Krok has announced his new venture called "Keep the Wolf from the Door", as he embarks on a mission to raise funds to address hunger and food insecurity.

To achieve this, Krok has partnered with social impact organisations, Afrika Tikkun and Siyakhana.

Krok will be doing a symbolic walk in his Johannesburg suburb to complete 91km by 4 June. Having started in May, Krok's aim is to have walked 1km for every year of his age by this date. 

On 4 June, business leaders will join Krok as he completes this milestone - including Marc Lubner of Afrika Tikkun and Professor Michael Rudolph, representing the Siyakhana Initiative and University of Johannesburg (UJ) - with social distancing maintained.

The race is on and Krok is set to triumph! The discussions between Krok and his guests will be themed around education, business and mentoring and will be streamed live on Facebook.  

Determined to make a difference

Inspired by Tom Moore, the British army veteran who raised £39 million (R840 million) for charity in the UK, and seeing the devastation that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing in South Africa, Krok knew he had to do something.

"It's of great concern for me to see the increased poverty that has mushroomed overnight as people are not able to work or support their families. The sad thing is that before the pandemic a large portion of the South African population was already poor and sadly, even after the pandemic is quelled by the discovery of a vaccine and medication, the poor will still be poor" said Krok.

"I am determined to make a long-term difference by coupling our programme with sustainable food banks," he added. 

Not only is Krok known for his multiple business successes and being instrumental in the development of the pharmaceutical industry, but also as the man behind the creation of the iconic Apartheid Museum and for his commitment to philanthropy over the years. From building a school in Soweto to funding various educational institutions, his generosity and kind-heartedness knows no end.

In an interview at his 90th birthday celebrations, Krok recalled having asked a rabbi many years ago what he should teach his children. The rabbi responded with three pearls of wisdom: "Example, example, example!" This is what inspires Krok's life ethos. 

Food parcels and primary support

Food parcels and primarily to support children and the elderly will be provided with the initial funds raised. A systematic approach to addressing poverty and hunger in poor households and marginalised communities will be developed with community participation.

Krok believes that these interventions should be done with a strong sense of unity and collaboration, and quotes the words of the Three Musketeers: "One for all and all for one". 

This inspirational fundraising effort means a great deal coming from a man of his age, who never exercised a day in his life and who has thoughts of forming a "camaraderie club" with fellow global "walk for funds" mates like Sir Tom Moore and others. 

Contributions to Keep the Wolf from the Door can be made by EFT to the below account. A tax benefit can be enjoyed by corporate donors.

Bank: First National Bank (FNB)

Account Name: Afrika Tikkun NPC

Account Number: 62196064100

Branch Code: 261251

Swift Code: FIRNZAJJXXX

Reference: Keep the wolf from the door

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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