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Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy confirmed the appointment of Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco as Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, at an event held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Umhlanga, Durban on Wednesday 26th July 2017.

“It is a great honour for me to be named Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, an organization that shares the same vision as my Foundation and one that I have always been inspired by. Lifesaving South Africa’s commitment to drowning prevention is remarkable and the spirit of volunteering that you are instilling in our young people is infectious,” said HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco (Formerly Charlene Wittstock).

The Princess discovered her passion for the water and dedicated 20 years of her life to become an Olympic swimmer, representing South Africa in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. “During those years, I learnt the importance of discipline, team spirit, dedication and respect for the water, oneself and others; values that I know LSA lifeguards appreciate and demonstrate every day,” continued the Princess.

The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation was established in 2012 and has since reached over 300,000 people worldwide, with operations being established here in South Africa in 2013. The work of the Foundation is internationally acknowledged and celebrated for raising public awareness about the dangers of water, teaching children essential water safety skills and how to swim.

The partnership between the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa and Lifesaving South Africa will strengthen the promotion of water safety and support ‘learn to swim’ projects in South Africa.

Lifesaving South Africa’s Watersmart program is a classroom based educational water safety program developed to complement the current Grade 4 Life Skills curriculum. The program, presented by Lifesaving SA Watersmart facilitators will, during the course of 2017, be delivered free of charge to over 80 schools nationwide.

Mr. Gavin Varejes, President of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, also announced the distribution of 200 rescue boards, valued in excess of R2mil from the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA to Lifesaving SA, with thanks to Cell C and Richmark Holdings. This will see every LSA affiliated lifesaving club in South Africa receiving rescue boards to continue their critical service to the community.

Varejes, synonymous for his generosity and support of the SA Surfing Legends and President of SA Rugby Legends, said “the new partnership will hopefully continue to encourage different sporting codes to work together and form the bonds, strengths and partnerships that make such a wonderful difference in our Country.”

“Cell C endorses this initiative in growing an awareness around water safety in South Africa and deems it a great privilege to be associated with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA”, says Doug Mattheus, Head of Marketing at Cell C.

Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy and SASCOC President Gideon Sam both expressed gratitude to HSH Princess Charlene and Mr. Varejes for their contribution to raising the profile of Lifesaving in South Africa, both on a social level and as a sport. Dylan Tommy said “we are extremely grateful to HSH Princess Charlene for agreeing to serve as the Patron for Lifesaving South Africa. With the Princess as our Patron and the partnership we have established with The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, we will be able to achieve far greater success in our fight against drowning in South Africa”.

In 2017, Continental Tyre SA, by way of its General Tire brand, committed to a three-year investment and sponsorship of Lifesaving SA, and its Product Communications Manager Ryan Visagie applauded the contributions of Varejes and corporate heavyweights Richmark and Cell C.

“It sends a great message to Corporate South Africa to get involved with saving lives. You can’t put a price on saving a life and it’s fantastic to see the investment in Lifesaving as a result of the partnership with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA,” said Ryan Visagie, Continental Tyre SA.

SASCOC president Gideon Sam said “it was noted that the Princess gives so much to the country she grew up in, but also so importantly to the serious issue of water safety and water education.” He described her as “an inspiration to the global community and a particularly special South African.”

The inspirational life of Nelson Mandela forms the basis for an extraordinary art collection that show cases the story of a deeply-beloved South African icon. Circa on Jellicoe, one of Johannesburg’s most exciting urban art galleries, was privileged to host a single private viewing of this collection, namely John Meyer’s “Mandela: A Life’s Journey”. Held on the 23rd of February 2017, the evening, which was in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, allowed guests to enjoy these powerful and thought-provoking artworks before they embark on an international tour that will include some of the artistic capitals of the world.

The series is on loan from a private collection owned by Andrew Dunn, CEO of Richmark Holdings, and each of the 16 pieces are works in acrylic and sand on canvas. Dunn commissioned the series from renowned South African artist John Meyer, whom he considers to be one of South Africa’s greatest living artists. The series took three years to complete and the result was a heart-warming and descriptive look at Madiba’s life. The private viewing resulted from the recognised need to show off the magnificent art pieces to South Africans before the world tour begins. According to Dunn, “John is a living legend who has painted for the Queen of England, Paul Allen of Microsoft and many more world and business leaders. Thus, choosing him to help fulfil my dream of owning a collection based on the life of Nelson Mandela was an easy decision.”

For Meyer, Nelson Mandela’s rare and universal influence challenged him to raise his game and reach new levels artistically. Meyer explains of his work, “I want to explore the private world of people’s lives, the enigmatic unexplained and hidden emotions.” Having met Mandela on several occasions, Meyer has always been struck by his saintliness and the fact that he has served as a rallying point for all the world’s dispossessed. He did, however, try to avoid politics in the series, aiming rather to capture Mandela’s humanity.

Mark Read, owner of Circa, notes that CIRCA has curated some of the most intellectually stimulating exhibitions to be shown in contemporary South Africa. He comments that, “At Circa, we seek to hold exhibitions that cause people to think about our wonderful country, to question its past and ponder about the future that lies ahead.” For him, the showing of this collection was a great honour: “This very tantalizing brief showing of 16 miraculous paintings is the story of our continent’s greatest human icon painted by the best realist of his generation. What gallery wouldn’t be proud to show that?”

nelson mandela life