Even incessant downpours could not dampen the high spirits at Kalksteenfontein Primary School on August 9, when UCT and Cape Technikon staff and students celebrated Women's Day alongside 200 women from the area and one very popular television celebrity.
The bash was the brainchild of Lydia Hall, deputy director of UCT Sports Administration, Cape Tech's Annelie Swarts (sports department) and Anette Grobler (culture and student development) who, said Hall, had been keen to organise a community project of sorts for Women's Day. The three initially decided to run a sports day with women from the Kalksteenfontein area, using Cape Tech's ongoing ties with the primary school there, but later opted for a broader programme.
Enlisting about 30 students from the two institutions - UCT's contingent comprised students from the netball, hockey and basketball clubs - and the vocal talents of DJs Zaine Johnson and Sam Roy of KfM radio station, they then mustered speakers to tackle a spread of topics, including crime management, HIV/AIDS, nutrition and the value of sport and exercise.
In addition, they convinced Vinette Ebrahim, who plays one of the lead characters in the much-beloved Afrikaans soapie 7de Laan, to travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town to address the women. With financial support from UCT, Cape Tech, Tango's Restaurant in Constantia (whose proprietors donated cash and a steaming smorgasbord) and Factory Toy Shop in Parow, as well as the handyman ingenuity of the team of attendants at the UCT Sports Centre, the day - intemperate weather notwithstanding - proved to be a big hit, said Hall.
In addition to keeping the women entertained with games and talks (Ebrahim was the star attraction), the organisers also managed to raise a few thousand rand for the school.
"It really turned out to be a very successful event," reported Hall. "It was the first time we held it, and we were rather nervous beforehand because we didn't know how many people would turn up or how the speakers would go down."
Hall, Swarts and Grobler hope to make the event an annual feature, but will first have to collar a handful of charitable sponsors.