The RR Foundation celebrated its first-year anniversary in style at the Durban ICC on 18 February 2023. The event was attended by foreign dignitaries, South African politicians, representatives of eThekwini Municipality, business leaders, academia, civil society, family and friends. Many of the guests were stakeholders participating in the various programmes in which the RR Foundation is currently involved.
These included His Excellency, Mr Zainal Arif Mantaha, High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Pretoria; Mr Alex Ho, Enterprise Singapore, Narend Singh, Member of Parliament; Neville Matjie, CEO TIKZN; Eric Apelgren, Head of Department, International and Governance Relations eThekwini Municipality; Logie Naidoo, ex-deputy mayor and speaker eThekwini Municipality; Dr Mahmoud Youssef Baker, Chairman IQRAA Trust; Frank Lin Wu, Confucius Institute; Dr Naseem Haniff, Director Student Counselling and Health, Durban University of Technology (DUT) Chris Delport, CEO City Power; Ashok Sewnarain, CEO IBV; Nomfundo Mcoyi, CEO Icebolethu Group as well as Dr Julia Ambler, Umduduzi Hospice for Children.
The RR Foundation was launched on the 18 February 2022 in memory of the late Rajen Reddy, CEO and founder of the RR Group of companies, who passed away on the 18 February 2021.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening Mrs Karabo Mohale, Deputy Executive Chair,The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), captured the essence of the legacy of Rajen Reddy who she said, ‘was an extraordinary man who led not only in words but in action’.
In her welcome speech, Mrs Esay Reddy said, “This evening we are here to honour his legacy – we are here to honour everything he stood for. Rajen was passionate about empowering our youth and looking after the aged, he was also passionate about acknowledging the importance of education. Each of the pillars of the Foundation tells a story of what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it.”
The three pillars of the Foundation are:
Philosophical Psychology (Mental Health and Gender Based Violence)
A current goal of the RR Foundation is to focus on ensuring that its Flagship projects, which fall under each of these pillars, are bought to full fruition. These projects are at various stages of development.
Under the pillar of education is the Rajen Reddy School of Leadership. Its core curriculum title is ‘Leadership for Freedom from Poverty of all Kinds’, which encompasses mental poverty, physical poverty, spiritual poverty and emotional poverty.
Although the late Rajen Reddy did not have any tertiary education, he was extremely passionate about the advancement of education as well as Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) development among the youth. The main target market for the core curriculum is therefore SMMEs because they are in the position to give the most leadership and direction to the communities in which they operate.
The Aurora Hospice for Children falls under the pillar of health. The RR Foundation has a site in La Mercy on which they are looking at developing and constructing the hospice. While this project may take two to three years for completion, they have identified key areas in which to begin immediately with home-based care and day-care, as well as a group of oncologists with whom to work.
Under the pillar of Philosophical Psychology is the 24/7/ 365 call centre, which will address mental health and gender-based violence challenges.
The need to established this call centre stems out of the Covid-19 pandemic and the mental health challenges that we have all faced as well as the state of gender-based violence, especially within a South African context.
Messages of support were given for each of these projects. Dr Julia Ambler, the cofounder of Umduduzi Hospice for Children, a mobile hospital-based team, emphasized the importance of establishing a children’s hospice in KwaZulu-Natal where palliative care can be provided to sick children, for which there is currently much need. She commented, “Through the establishment of the Aurora Hospice for Children and the home-based care system, the children of KZN will have improved access to this kind of care and support.”
Dr Naseem Haniff, the Director Student Counselling and Health, DUT thanked the Rajen Reddy Foundation for making mental health one of its pillars as many people have to rely on community-based care in South Africa. She said, “The RR Foundation is fulfilling a vital role due to the lack of access that many people have to such services.”
DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, commented, “Through the Rajan Reddy School of Leadership we will be able to use today’s theme, ‘The power of the collective’, to overcome the most complex and persistent of our local, regional, national and global problems.”
Keynote speaker award-winning storyteller and cultural activist Gcina Mhlophe said of Rajen Reddy, “It is the heart that separates the good from the great. And this man we are celebrating here tonight put his heart into everything that he did.” She added that he wanted to inspire other people so that they knew that they had a place in this world, a right to succeed and to be somebody.
Nanda Soobben, who is an internationally acclaimed cartoonist, offered three of his artworks to be auctioned. Proceeds of the auction will be used to finance the various projects either currently underway or in development. Fulling the role of auctioneer, was stand-up comedian Mo Vawda who did a great job of motivating the guests to buy one of the artworks on offer. On offer was also Vawda’s own Eskom inspired artwork aptly titled ‘stage four’ which provoked much amusement.
The evening concluded with entertainment by the music of the vibrant and much acclaimed Mi Casa, who very quickly had everyone up on the floor and dancing.
The RR Foundation appreciates any form of support towards their flagship projects be it in time, resources or financial. For more information on the Rajen Reddy Foundation and it various projects please contact:
Nadim Aziz, CEO of the RR Foundation
C: +27 63 726 5738
Yashna Sookoo, Fundraiser of the RR Foundation
C: +27 71 553 4007
Mbuso Dlamini, Marketing Manager of the RR Group
C: +27 81 454 8610