The African proverb, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together, was given new meaning at the African Experience dinner hosted by Dutchies Restaurant on Thursday evening, 21 February.

More than 80 guests attended this fundraising event in aid of the Yomelelani Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Zwelihle, which not only included a delicious three-course meal, but magical entertainment provided by the Yomelelani children and staff members.

The African Experience kicked off at Dutchies on Grotto Beach at 18:00, where guests boarded the ChillGuru bus for a sightseeing tour that also took them through Zwelihle and included a stop-off at Yomelelani. They then made their way to the main venue for the evening, the RDP Centre in Zwelihle, where beautifully laid tables under a large Bedouin tent awaited them.

Yomelelani is a registered NPO that provides a crèche and pre-school for the township’s young children, aiming to provide essential child care in a positive learning environment. Currently 55% of the children enrolled at Yomelelani are orphans and a majority of the others are from single-parent households. They range in age from 3 months to five years.

The Centre has more than doubled in size since 2015 and now cares for around 150 infants and children, which illustrates the dire need for education in this rapidly expanding community. It is only with the support of the Overstrand Municipality and the philanthropic help of Aqunion, the UK Charity Trust and generous individuals such as the owners of Dutchies, Joke and Just Gonggrijp and their son Daan, that Yomelelani is able to augment the small subsidy they receive from the Department of Social Development.

The Dutchies team served up a feast of African-inspired cuisine that included springbok carpaccio, three-bean soup, lamb stew with pap and malva pudding with an African twist. On the wine list was a selection of Iona wines. After several delightful song and dance performances by the Yomelelani children and teachers, the evening was rounded off with an audio-visual presentation on Yomelelani and an art auction conducted by Theo Krynauw of Sparkle Kids.

Dutchies would like to extend their grateful thanks to Iona, Amarula, Fitch & Leedes, Valley Farm, ChillGuru and the owners of the Zwelihle Youth Café at the RDP Centre, William Ntebe and Fikiswa Gxamesi, for their generous support in making this a night to remember.

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