Not only did the audience – staff, students, alumni and friends of the University – welcome the initiative with warm hearts and open hands, but some went further and instantly pledged their donations to the cause.
Among them was long-time UWC benefactor George Gibbs, who gave his first R50 and one brick towards the initiative.
The fund's purpose is to build UWC “one brick at a time” by mobilising about 35 000 alumni, students, staff, and the general public to donate as little as R50 each month or more for future generations of students. The ultimate goal is to raise R1-billion when UWC celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2060, starting with growing more than R200-million in the first ten years.
UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, said UWC was not just a university, but a home with a nurturing family built for youngsters with disadvantaged backgrounds like him. And when he became the Rector, his goal was to expand UWC’s infrastructure and have multi-site campuses all over Cape Town to break down apartheid confines.
To date, UWC has doubled the university-owned bed stock by developing a new student village Unibell with 2700 beds; repurposed and modernised the former Jan S Marais Hospital in the Bellville Central Business District to house the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences; and has ventured as far as Woodstock to refurbish an educational precinct in Greatmore to house the Laboratory of Kinetic Objects.
Further, the University completed several on-campus infrastructure projects, such as the new Education precinct, the Computational and Mathematical precinct and facilities for differently abled students. It will soon launch an innovation hub with state-of-the-art Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality capability in Parow.
“To continue this expansion and the growth for the sake of future generations and your legacy and the institution’s legacy, I turn to you, our alumni, staff and our communities, our benefactors, and friends of UWC. Let us build together, brick by brick, leaving our children and society a legacy they can be proud of. To do this, we are launching the UWC Legacy Fund to grow and advance infrastructure. I humbly ask that you spread the word of this fund to your friends, family and social networks,” said Prof Pretorius.
Prof Pretorius said targets might seem ambitious and insurmountable, but that is for a purpose.
“More than 60 years ago, UWC started with just 166 students, and we were called a bush college. But no one knew that this bush was a floral kingdom with some of the most unique plants in the world. Let us grow this kingdom, and keep UWC’s legacy alive.”
READ MORE: GEORGE GIBBS Calls for a Culture of Giving
Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, was the keynote speaker at the launch. He believed the targets were attainable.
“You will make that R200 million because the Almighty God blesses intentions like these. Nothing is insurmountable, not even load shedding. We can all overcome everything because of committed people who are resilient,” he said.
Dr Sooliman revealed his foundation, which has saved and rescued destitute people from the most desperate circumstances around the globe, also started small but kept on going to become the great organisation it is today. He said giving was an essential aspect of life and that Africa was about Ubuntu (humanity), “sharing what we have even if we have nothing”. He was cognisant of the event launching on Africa Day.
He cautioned that this kind of goal didn’t come only with money but also with dedication, leadership, inspiration, compassion, commitment, respect and discipline. “You need someone to drive that process because you can put money down, and people can waste it.”
Dr Sooliman commended those who attended the event and called for people to donate with happy hearts.
“The simple message is to open your heart for spirituality. Open your heart to do this, purify yourself, have pure intentions, and be realistic. But do so with the sincerity of your heart. What starts the right way goes the right way.”
Director of the Department of Institutional Advancement, Professor Anesh Singh, who spearheaded the campaign and the concept, explained how the idea came about when, as a young boy, his father showed him a building that was made possible through small donations.
“All we say is sacrifice one burger a month. While we ask you to assist with your donation, we also say help us to bring others into the fold. Let's get everybody to make a small difference with those tiny little bricks. Put the word out, be a part of this initiative and help to build UWC one brick at a time.”
UWC has prepared various ways to make donations easier and simpler. For more information or to donate, click the links below...
LEGACY FUND GENERAL INFORMATION CLICK HERE TO DONATE VIA DEBIT ORDER
For more images from the Legacy Fund launch, all taken by Ruvan Boshoff/UWC Media, scroll through the gallery below...