Kirkwood Wildlife Festival set for a higher turnover this year

TAKING CARE ... Burn victim Thandeka Phillip, 4, pictured with Suzette Celliers of Absa, the main sponsor of this year‘s Kirkwood Wildlife Festival. Phillip is one of a number of impoverished and disabled children living in the Langbos area near Addo being looked after by the Sisters of Mercy NGO.ORGANISERS of the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival hope it will generate more than the R18-million in turnover it achieved last year.

Event organiser Jenni Honsbein said the fact that the festival was profitable last year was an achievement, because “most big festivals barely break even”.

Profits for the festival, now in its eighth year, were down last year due to increased overheads and the larger scale of the enterprise. Last year‘s headline game auction brought in R11-million of the festival‘s turnover.

A small portion of the event‘s profits are retained to pay for emergencies and the salaries of the two permanent staffers on the festival team (the others are all volunteers) and the rest goes to social improvement projects.

The projects, which have together received R80000 to R150000 a year in cash or in kind from the festival, each revolve around “centres of hope” focusing on Aids, children, the aged, the disabled, poverty– and the World Cup.

One of these is the Isipho (“gift” in Xhosa) Aids Project in Paterson, run by David Banesi, 38, and his wife Sindiswa, 44, who is HIV-positive.

The couple met and first talked about their project while both in prison in Grahamstown. He wrote a play about Aids and she performed it with other women inmates. Operating from an abandoned municipal building, the two Aids activists now take care of 23 Aids orphans and run a creche.

Working with a state social worker and a team of care-workers, they ensure the orphans are fed, clothed, accommodated and schooled. Isipho gives them uniforms and stationery and pays their school fees. Eight of them sleep at the Isipho building and the rest have been placed with families.

The Kirkwood festival‘s funding was used to help Isipho feed and clothe the children, Honsbein explained.

“Isipho is a centre of hope. It has killed the stigma of Aids and encouraged people to come forward to be tested.”

The festival also sponsors the Bergsig Aged in Action project. Initiated as a franchise by the national Council for the Aged, Bergsig co-ordinator Ouma Evie and her team work out of an industrial container, providing food for indigent elderly and increasingly jobless youth.

The festival also funds the Tape Aids Mini Wheely Library Project, which allows blind or illiterate residents to book out audio-tapes.

It had operated in the Moses Mabida and Valencia townships and had been hugely popular, Honsbein said.

“It is a wonderful form of upliftment.

“Our librarian has been struggling to keep up with the demand.”

Another project, initiated in conjunction with the Sundays River Municipality, was aimed at training local people to become traffic officers.

“The thinking behind this and similar projects that we support is to retain and empower the locals rather than have them drift away to the city.”

In celebration of 2010, the festival has also been sponsoring Bush Pirates from Nomatamsanqa near Addo. The festival management team hopes to target a mega-project to clear alien vegetation in the valley.

The project, which was launched in 2006, promises to create hundreds of jobs, benefit biodiversity and free up precious water. The cost of maintaining the project is about R100000 a year and it is now being run by the Sundays River Citrus Co-operative. But festival organisers are hoping this year‘s festival will generate enough revenue to launch a second inspirational eco-project, possibly to clear the Sundays River of suffocating Spanish reed.

source: Weekend Post

Dad’s kidney gives Uitenhage lad new lease on life

by Khanyi Ndabeni HERALD REPORTER

Adriaan Lombard, 9, of Uitenhage finally has a new kidney – donated by his dad, Bokkie.IT took nine years, but Adriaan Lombard, 9, of Uitenhage finally has a new kidney – donated by his dad, Bokkie.

Grade 4 pupil Adriaan received the kidney from his father at the Donald Gordon Medical Centre at Wits University and arrived back home at the weekend, ending nine years of family misery.

“My child was diagnosed with kidney failure a few months after he was born,” said his mother Lindy.

Bokkie was identified by the doctor as a compatible donor for his son, but the family had to wait before the transplant could be performed.

“All these years, I‘ve watched my son not growing like the other kids at his age,” said Lindy.

“He was small and was on a low-protein diet almost every day.”

The father and son were admitted to the hospital last Tuesday and the father was discharged on Saturday.

Adriaan was discharged yesterday.

“I‘m so looking forward to my child growing like the other children,” said Bokkie proudly. “He is now in Grade 4. As soon as he recovers from this, he will be able to play like the other boys of his age,” he said.

Organ Donor Foundation project manager Samantha Volschenk said 27 children under the age of 12 had been waiting for kidney transplants last year, and 25 under the age of 17.

“Only five children under the age of 12 and two adolescents received a kidney last year,” she said.

At the medical centre where Adriaan and Bokkie were admitted, about 10 children aged from six months to 12 years are on the active call- up list, waiting for kidneys. Eight are waiting for livers.

Transplant co-ordinator Kim Crymble said: “Last year we performed eight transplants on children and so far this year we have performed five – three combined liver/kidney transplants and two liver transplants.

source: The Herald Online

Female performers show just how it is done

The cast of Divas Are Forever (from left) Lynn Cosme, Thuba Mayeki, Donna Africa and Robynn King will be in action in Uitenhage this week and Port Elizabeth next week.FOR the first time, Centrestage presents a two-night run of one of its shows, Divas Are Forever, at the Barkly Street Theatre in Uitenhage on Thursday and Friday – before the show moves to Uptown Theatres in Port Elizabeth for performances from June 15 to 20.

Divas are Forever showcases some of the most scintillating live performances and song arrangements sung by female performers whose popularity has endured over time. The show features Donna Africa as show host Shirley Bassey.

She is joined by the big voiced Robynn King, who pays tribute to Aretha Franklin Barbra Streisand, Etta James and Whitney Houston, while Lynn Cosme is introduced as the newest addition to the Centrestage fold as Liza Minelli, Bette Midler and Shania Twain.

Joining the ladies on duets through-out is another Centrestage newcomer Thuba Mayeki, who become known to Eastern Cape fans through his Top 14 appearance on this years Idols singing competition.

Aside from Bassey‘s Diamonds Are Forever, Never Never , This is My Life and her rendition of Hey Jude, Africa also performs other big numbers such as the Jennifer Holiday classic And I‘m Telling You I‘m Not Going and Gladys Knight‘s emotional interpretation of Free Again/I Will Survive. She also strides out as Tina Turner.

Mayeki joins Africa on You Can‘t Take That Away from Me, and performs the Elton John role in the Shania Twain/Elton John duet versions of You‘re Still the One and Something About the Way You Look Tonight.

Tickets in Uitenhage can be bought from the theatre and in Port Elizabeth through Computicket. They cost R95 and shows start at 7.30pm.

Check-out the Classifieds

source: The Herald, Arts Correspondent