Isn’t it just fantastic when a plan comes together?
What started out as an idea that all teens at a Cape Flats school should get the experience of a full matric ball, has flourished into a community initiative of note.
Back in May, Shariefa Gabriels, a teacher at Beacon Hill Secondary, spoke to the Daily Voice about her plan to raise funds so 30 learners could afford the R800 ticket to the ball.
That really got the ball rolling, with the support from readers almost overwhelming.
Dresses, tuxedos and cash were donated, with Shariefa at one stage saying “my classroom looks like a boutique with all the dresses and suits that people have donated”.
Luckily Shariefa’s assistant, Charniece Baily, has connections with the Cape car clubs, and she reached out to Uncle Frank of the Cape Clubz Charity Network (CCCN), who called Shahiem Bell, who put the word out, which led to local car clubs offering to give the students lifts on the day.
This culminated in a first-class meet-up with the matriculants and car clubs in a parking lot, with photos taken, memorable moments had and kwaai rides to the venue.
Shariefa says: “I was in awe, I was so emotional when I saw all the cars and my learners done up in their finest. Everyone was so excited.”
Bobby Nitro spoke to Shariefa after the huge success of a ball, and she says: “What started as a little idea when Shaunton, one of my learners, approached me, turned into a top-notch event. It was the best of the best.”
After Hatchback Society, the president of which is Charniece’s husband Francois, jumped on board to provide kwaai karre for transport, other people involved in the Cape Clubz Charity Network stieked uit to sponsor car rides to the ball.
The Dub Saints were there, Cape Stance, T3 Bus Lovers, all under the CCCN umbrella.
Shahiem Bell, part of the network, says: “We even had too many cars within two days of reaching out. Many still showed up just to be part of the run.
“It's an event that marks a milestone in all our lives and I think this is why we gladly assist, as everyone deserves that memory. Thanks again to all who offered and acted.”
Shariefa adds a heart-wrenching but also heartwarming aside, saying: “Shaunton, who started it all off with his request, had a death in the family and the funeral was the day after the ball.
“So he wasn’t feeling so up for the party. But when Ruben Petersen rolled up in his blue Datsun with the personalised number plate with his name on it, Shaunton’s spirits were lifted, noticeably.”
Donations amounted to R30 000 and the community effort was able to assist 50 learners from homes that were affected by the pandemic in such a way as to make the costs unaffordable.
She says: “When you do something with your whole hear and for the right reasons. God just opens doors.”