South African rugby legends yesterday participated in a humanitarian course gesture by donating food parcels to cushion the adverse effects of Covid-19 on poor families.
The players, from Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions, in partnership with Cell C and Vodacom, gathered at Loftus Park where they shopped for groceries from Checkers to the value of R330 000.
They then packed up food hampers, which included bags of potatoes, onions, rice, tomatoes, bread, cooking oil, sugar, peanut butter and macaroni, among other items.
The hampers were donated to the Lizo Gqoboka Foundation and Ashraful Aid, which are to distribute them to destitute households.
The money used for the groceries was raised during the return of Vodacom Super Fan Saturday at Loftus Versfeld, the first live rugby action after six months since the country went into lockdown in March to curb the spread of Covid-19.
As part of the fund-raising for charity, the mobile network giants donated R2500 for every point scored during the double-header.
The initiative was started by #RugbyUnites for Vodacom Super Fan Saturday in partnership with the South African Rugby Legends Association.
The head of sponsorship at Vodacom, Michelle van Eyden, said the initiative had been part of #RugbyUnites under the sponsorship of Cell C before Vodacom came on board.
“We decided to partner with Cell C because it is a good cause they are doing. Vodacom has always been a big supporter for a brand with a purpose,” Van Eyden said.
Cell C would raise funds and give it to people in need as a result of Covid-19, she said.
“Because of Vodacom Super Fan Saturday which was held on Saturday, for every point scored, Vodacom donated R2500 and that ended up being R330000,” she said.
One of the beneficiaries, the Lizo Gqoboka Foundation, was named after the Vodacom Bulls and Springboks prop, who initiated it to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Gqoboka said: “We know that poverty is one of the giants that we are facing and fighting in our country. It is such an amazing thing to see massive companies like Vodacom and the #RugbyUnites legends be involved in alleviating poverty.
“Hunger is not something that we can postpone and I know exactly how it feels. I have been there myself, not knowing where my next meal is going to come from.”
Gqoboka said he was motivated to start the foundation to give hope to the rural folks in KwaBhaca, formerly Mount Frere, in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up.
“I grew up in a place where we only got electricity last year; basically where there are no opportunities. I thought that there is a lot of talent but there are no opportunities, so I started an organisation to empower the youth through sports and education,” he said.
Since its establishment, the organisation has started teams for rugby, netball, women and men’s soccer.
“We give bursaries as well and last year we gave two. One of the ladies was sitting at home for five years and couldn’t study because of finances. She is now doing her second year in project management. The other one dropped out four years ago and now she is doing her second year in media,” Gqoboka said.
Ashraful Aid, one of the beneficiaries, is a humanitarian organisation from Marlboro, which has already donated 10000 food hampers to under-privileged families during the lockdown.
Yesterday it received at least 500 food hampers which will go a long way in assisting families hard hit by Covid-19.