By Louise Liebenberg
THE 2011 Rugby World Cup has finally rolled around – and Nelson Mandela Bay got into the action a little early, on the eve of the tournament, by hosting the very successful Springboks Cooking for Charity function at the NMMU Indoor Sports Centre this week.
Bok legends Schalk Burger snr, Garth Wright, Dr Hannes Marais, Warren Brosnihan and De Wet Barry were all there, Garth (whose birthday it was yesterday when the Cup started) acting as compere and being the driving force behind the event which was hosted for the third time.
And, thanks to the Boks and enthusiastic public support, R200 000 was raised for charity through the dinner and an accompanying auction, with the Eastern Province Child and Youth Care Centre, Child Welfare Eastern Cape and the MTR Smit Children’s Haven all on the receiving end of the goodwill. Children from the EP Child and Youth Care Centre also had a bit of involvement on the night as they had made beautiful and very creative rugby-inspired placemat drawings which the guests could take home with them afterwards.
The evening, attended by some 300 guests, saw Garth joined on stage by “big” Schalk Burger, of Welbedacht Wines fame and father of “little” Schalk who is part of the 2011 World Cup squad hoping to make it third time lucky for the Boks, the team having spectacularly won the World Cup in 1995 and again in 2007.
Intermittently joined on stage by Dr Hannes Marais (who lives in Port Elizabeth, was a selector of the 1995 team and quipped his wife knows more about rugby than he does!) and Warren Brosnihan, the Boks reminisced about the two World Cup victories and what went right (and at times, wrong) in their game. They also had some poignant Bok stories from the past.
All agreed the Boks are clearly buoyed following their recent victory over the All Blacks at a packed Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on August 20 and so every single rugby-loving South African is hoping they can build on that optimism for a decent performance in New Zealand now that the 2011 Rugby World Cup has officially kicked off.
The Springboks Cooking for Charity menu included pap ‘n sous with a succulent sosatie and sausage straight off the braai to start with, as well as recipes from the new Springbok Kitchen cookery book for mains and dessert. It really was a feast and the big screen TVs showing snippets from the 1995 game brought a tear to many eyes, seeing our wonderful Madiba in his green and gold and the team singing the National Anthem uit volle bors, as they say.
Veteran singer PJ Powers also attended Springboks Cooking for Charity and brought the evening to a rapturous close with her by now famous rendition of World in Union. Scroll down for more pictures of Thursday night’s event, which was made possible thanks to the support of various sponsors, including Angelic Wonders who did the draping, Magnetic Storm, The Boardwalk and their chefs from Fedics, Chef to Call Riaan van Niekerk, Siyathetha Communications, Meridian Wines and others.