Cape Town Radio Station Raises Millions for Charity

Listeners of Cape Town radio station 567 Cape Talk pledged R3.7 million in just 12 hours to feed hungry children in Cape Town

Over R3.7 million was
recently raised for orphans and vulnerable children through a one-day 567 CapeTalk radiothon in partnership with Ikamva Labantu.

What can you buy with R150? A meal at a restaurant, a CD or pay your cellphone bill for a month? For Ikamva Labantu, a community development project, R150 covers food, clothing and education for an orphaned child, for an entire month!

So it was R150 per month that listeners were called to donate on 26 January 2009 for the 567 CapeTalk Cares radiothon, which ran from 6am to 6pm. The response from the people of Cape Town shattered expectations and pledges flooded in as programming highlighted the plight of children, as well as the phenomenal work that is done by individuals and organizations in this regard.

“This was an unbelievable experience. The phones did not stop ringing for a second. So many Capetonians were willing to pledge that eventually we had to stop putting callers on air; we were running out of time!” said Ciro de Siena, a producer at the station.

“We internally aimed for R1.2million, and when I arrived at work at 10am we had already cracked that figure. Nobody expected that we would get close to R4million. It was simply astonishing that in extremely tough economic times, both corporate and private individuals could find the time and money to pledge so much. At the end of the day we raised R5 139  per minute and R86 per second, for 12 hours!” he added.

Ikamva Labantu translates to “the future of our nation” and they help community carers to support growing numbers of orphaned children. These carers, or ‘angels’ as Ikamva Labantu refers to them, all started by fostering one or two children. Their generosity was slowly stretched to accommodate the desperate need as Aids ravaged their communities and thousands of children were left without any care. Many of these angels now have over a dozen mouths to feed, and insufficient income to do so.

That’s where Ikamva Labantu makes a difference – they identify people and projects that already exist in needy areas, and support them, so that they can continue to do their great work.

The idea for a radiothon came from breakfast show presenter, Aden Thomas, who donates generously to children’s causes in his personal capacity. “I raised the idea of doing something to feed children in the new year, and this grew into a goal of feeding 567 children through a radiothon,” he explained.

What no-one had anticipated was the extraordinary response to this call to action from so many CapeTalk listeners. “We reached our target of 567 children at 10am, and by the time Soli had finished his broadcast at 3pm – we had secured enough money to feed, clothe and educate 1 002 kids,” said 567 CapeTalk programming manager, Africa Melane.

"I think big mention
needs to be made of the Foschini Group, they donated R540k, or 100 kids for 3 years, Engen, 100 kids for 1 year (R180k) British American Tobacco (R150k), Seeff Group: R27 000, Spur Group R15 000, Helen Zille R10 000, Lynne Brown R5000 and thousands of others. We had a 12-year-old who called in and pledged R1800 of his own pocket money, it had John in tears," said de Siena.

Like the 12-year-old who raided his savings account, there were many other such stories that captured the spirit of the initiative. One donor from Gugulethu didn’t have the funds to cover R150 a month, but pledged what he could give, which was R50 a month.

There was also the listener who won R1 000 in a competition earlier in the day and decided to donate it to the radiothon, and numerous parents who had lost their own children, who took the opportunity to ease the life of another child.

As Bridgette Brukman from Ikamva Labantu said, It’s not about pitying these kids or the carers looking after them, this is an opportunity for regular South Africans to invest in the future of our country – our children.”

Read more news about positive social happenings in Cape Town in our Social section, and subscribe to our Editor’s Picks Newsletter for a monthly update about what keeps this city buzzing like it does.

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