Tag Archives: Gavin varejes

This Sunday, our SA Rugby Legends and the Lions Rugby team were joined by a multi-faith group of legends in their own right, as they shared shopping and food parcel packing duties to help bless families and households in need of winter warmth and nourishment.

Spar, SA Rugby Legends, Lions, multi faith group charity

In the true spirit of ubuntu, SARLA President Gavin Varejes has brought together a Rabbi, an Imam, a Pastor and members of their flock, along with some of the SA Rugby Legends, who all shopped at the Morningside SPAR (the Wedge Shopping Centre, Rivonia Road) together before packing the groceries into food parcels and distributing to their relevant charities.

"South Africa's rich diversity of culture and religion will be working as one to help make a difference in the lives of those affected at this time", said SARLA President Gavin Varejes.

Spar, SA Rugby Legends, Lions, multi faith group charity

Rabbi Alex Carlebach of the Lyndhurst Synagogue will be donating parcels to Fingertips of Africa, a charity that feeds 10 000 women, men, homeless, disabled and elderly people at various kitchens across the Gauteng region.

Imam Moulana Suhail, Director of Ashraful Aid, will be distributing parcels through the Ashraful Aid organisation, which serves 135 global communities affected by disaster, famine and war.

Spar SARLA Lions multi faith group charity

Rugby Legend, Pastor Pierre Spies of the CRC Church in Pretoria, will be supporting the CRC Cares Charity, which provides donations to communities in Pretoria and surrounding areas.

Gavin Varejes added, “We thank our inter-faith partners for joining us on this special day”.

Lions Captain Elton Jantjies and his teammates were also on-hand to help. Jantjies said, “This is what being South African is all about. Seeing people of different faiths pulling together for one common goal like this is amazing. It’s a real inspiration in this tough time for the country. We are stronger together.”

Spar SARLA Lions multi faith group charity

SARLA CEO, Stefan Terblanche said, “Every Sunday that we do this, we gain momentum. This is a testament to the spirit of collaboration that makes South Africa strong. Please keep supporting our efforts. Together, we can make a significant impact on the lives of our country’s poor.”

Spar SARLA Lions multi faith group charity

The event took place at SPAR, the Wedge Shopping Centre, Rivonia Road, Morningside, on Sunday, 7 June at 12:30pm. SARLA, the Lions Rugby Company and SPAR’s efforts are ongoing. To support this worthy initiative, please visit www.backabuddy.co.za/rugby-legends-feeding-initiative.

Spar SARLA Lions multi faith group charity

To stay up to date with news about SARLA’s continued efforts to support local communities, follow the SA Rugby Legends on Facebook. And for more information, please visit www.sarugbylegends.com

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SA Rugby Legends Association president GAVIN VAREJES explains how they are giving back during the lockdown.

When John Allan and I started the Legends in 2001, one of the first people we asked to get involved was Ian McIntosh, the former Sharks and Springbok coach. At first, he didn’t like the name ‘Legends’ because he said he wasn’t one. When I told him that for me a legend is someone who gives back, and that is what the Rugby Legends is all about, Mac said he was in!

I’ve got the biggest private collection of Nelson Mandela memorabilia in the world – he’s my hero. Mr Mandela once said: ‘Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.’ I couldn’t agree more.

With the Legends’ Vuka Rugby programme having been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been working really hard on our feeding programmes.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent a message to a group of about 25 people saying I couldn’t stand by while South Africans were starving and encouraged them to meet me at our local Pick n Pay in Morningside. Twenty of them arrived (the other five were out of town) and I told everyone to take a trolley and fill it up with food. We then distributed it to those in need.

This past Sunday, we had 50 people who handed out around 400 food parcels. Several former and current rugby players joined us – including John Smit, Joel Stransky, Warren Brosnihan, Elton Jantjies and Hacjivah Dayimani – as well as Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who filled a trolley and assisted with the packing and handouts.

Craigie Stevenson, Gavin, John Smit, Elton Jantjies and Joel Stransky

Craigie Stevenson, Gavin, John Smit, Elton Jantjies and Joel Stransky

Every food parcel feeds five people for three or four days. It includes things like oats, mielie-meal, beans, polony, nuts, tins of bully beef or pilchards, and salt. We also include a candle, which can burn for 24 hours and be used to heat up a pot, as well as things like sanitary pads, soap and Dettol.

We will also assist in purchasing and distributing hundreds of thousands of meals across the country.

Tightline Fisheries and McCain have donated 30 tons of potatoes to our initiative, for which we are very appreciative, while Bismarck du Plessis has put together food parcels from their farm.

Andrew Dunn and Money4Jam have linked up with Joint Aid Management to help distribute tens of thousands of food vouchers to the poorest and most remote areas of our country.

A huge shout out to Douglas Craigie Stevenson, CEO of Cell C, Ty Waterston from Worldwide Advisory Services, Tony Strike and our other sponsors and supporters who have given us runway, wings and glide path.

It’s truly incredible how the SA Rugby Legends and feeding programmes, from the largest to the smallest, are teaming up to help government feed as many people as we can.

If you are in a position to help, please make a donation at the SA Rugby Legends website or to John Smit’s foundation, Barney’s Army.

Every single cent goes to the cause.

Original article posted on https://rugbyrocks.com/legends-living-up-to-name-during-lockdown

Johannesburg, 18 May 2020 – The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) is, first and foremost, an advocate for the upliftment of disadvantaged communities throughout South Africa.

Through their VUKA Rugby programme and other charitable initiatives, SARLA tra-ditionally directs its efforts at enriching young people and local communities through sports development. But with all sports on hold during lockdown, SARLA members are now finding other ways to help.

SARLA’s network of Rugby Legends, players and businesses are coming together to help the needy deal with the immediate effects of COVID-19 on their livelihoods and ability to feed themselves.

SARLA leadership actively encourages everyone in their network to do their part to help fight the effects of the pandemic; and so far, many have stepped up to answer the call.

On Sunday, 17 May, at 12h30, Rugby Legends and players, John Smit, Elton Jant-jies, Joel Stransky, Warren Brosnihan and other familiar faces flexed their muscles to fill trolleys Pick n Pay, Morningside Shopping Centre.

Each player grabbed a trolley and packed it with essentials like beans, pap, and sugar, then pushed their trolleys to the car park to unload and put together food parcels. Once parcels were packed, every player took them to be handed out to needy people in their area of choice. South Africa’s Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, also arrived to lend a hand with the food parcels.

Rugby legends fill trolleys for charity

Gavin Varejes, President of SARLA and CEO of Richmark Holdings, said, “I couldn’t be prouder of how our boys have stepped up to feed our communities. And I really hope that they serve as an inspiration for others in this challenging time.

“We’ve seen our network and our sponsors come off the bench to help out in a big way to fight the effects of COVID-19. We are hopeful that we can play a part in get-ting South Africa to bounce back quickly.”

SARLA’s Rugby Legends have kept extremely busy supporting community uplift-ment this year.

  • John Smit’s Epic Lockdown Ride for Food saw over 1000 cycling around their gardens to raise funds for needy communities.
  • Natural soft drink brand, Lemonlicious, joined SARLA in handing over food and cooldrinks at VUKA schools in Johannesburg.
  • Joel Stransky, Dave von Hoesslin and Wayne Boardman handed out food parcels around Gauteng.
  • Several Rugby Legends, including SARLA CEO, Stefan Terblanche, Dick Muir and Wayne Fyvie participated in the #SparDonate challenge.
  • Bizmark Du Plessis has launched an initiative making maize meal available at a highly reduced cost of R1.50.
  • SARLA’s Dale Santon conducted three food drops of 250 food parcels to help over 1000 people in the Western Cape VUKA Rugby regions of Laven-der Hill, Mitchell’s Plain, Steenberg and Khayelitsha.

SARLA would like to say a special thanks to all the loyal sponsors who have made such a massive difference to these initiatives. Special thanks to Douglas Craigie Stevenson, CEO of Cell C, who was on-hand to offer support at Sunday’s trolley dash in Morningside and continues to be a loyal supporter of SARLA. And finally, thanks to Minister Lindiwe Zulu for her valued support.

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32 South African surfers. One day. And incredible waves at one of the world’s finest beach breaks, New Pier in Durban. All of these ingredients combine to create a unique surf contest, the Cell C Goodwave surfing event, which is presented by South African Surfing Legends and sanctioned by the World Surf League as a spe-cialty event. The event is a different take on traditional surfing tournaments and is one of the most eagerly-awaited events on the SA surfing calendar.

The Cell C Goodwave contest is invite-only, and 32 South African surfers and 32 al-ternates have been invited to participate. They will compete against each other in four-man heats in a sudden death format until only one winner is left standing, to claim R100 000 in prize money. It’s an adrenaline-packed day that showcases high-performance surfing and celebrates the talent of these exceptional athletes and the surfers that have been invited to participate are an exciting mix of established SA names and new surfing talent.

To make the competition even more intense, the event is only held when organisers and weather experts have determined that conditions will be ideal for big swells. On-ly once the forecast looks promising is the event green-lit, and athletes are called a mere 48 hours in advance to notify them to gather for the big day. The waiting peri-od for the 2017 event opened on 1 February 2017 and the anticipation is building.

Barry Wolins, a legendary South African surfer, founded the event as a straightfor-ward, all-out contest that focuses on the surfers and is designed to challenge tech-nical ability, stamina and sheer determination. His passion for surfing began 44 years ago and through his association with South African Surfing Legends, he is helping to inspire, mentor and develop South African surfing talent for future genera-tions. SA Surfing Legends believes that the rich knowledge and dedication to the sport shared by SA surfing greats can be harnessed to help promote the sport and encourage young athletes to do SA proud. According to Gavin Varejes, South Afri-can Surfing Legends’ number one fan and Executive Advisor, “True legends don’t just perform athletically, they also give back and make a difference. SA Surfing Leg-ends keeps the SA flag flying proudly and promotes the local surf scene. The amaz-ing Cell C Goodwave event is one example of this and it is a competition of the high-est calibre.”

For more information on the event go to www.thegoodwave.co.za

tribute to jooste

Businessman Gavin Varejes, who heads the SA Rugby Legend Association, delivered a moving eulogy at the memorial service for South African legend Joost van der Westhuizen, who after a long battle, finally succumbed to motor neuron disease.

What does rugby mean to you?

Rugby isn't a sport, it's a brotherhood. It brings together different cultures, races and personalities with one common goal, to get a result after 80 minutes. For this, players sacrifice life and limb and in the process learn more about themselves and their darkest fears, like losing, facing a hostile crowd and disappointment in not only losing a tough game, but also letting your teammates and yourself down.

When and why did you set up the SA Rugby Legends?

The SA Rugby Legends Association was started in 2001 as an "old boys club" for provincial and professional players who still wanted to belong and give back to the game.

What did you hope to achieve with it?

The transition from professional rugby to life after rugby is brutal. If SARLA can make this process easier for ex-players and grow the base of rugby players at grassroots level, it is doing its job. We focus on rugby development and also the wellbeing of the ex-players after rugby.

Describe your relationship with Joost van der Westhuizen

Joost and I had a very open and honest relationship. He was the captain of the SA Rugby Legends and a hero in our country. He was also the tequila king! Off the field and after the party, we were helping transform his sporting skills to a business skill.

Joost was working at one of the companies in our group. In early 2011, I called him in and had concerns that he had been drinking because he was slurring his words and I noticed that his gait was unsteady. He was quite offended and assured me that he hadn't. I thought that he must've been partying too hard and it persisted. I think it really worried him as well.

And then, early in April 2011, he was told that he had 18 to 24 months to live. He was devastated and told me he had motor neuron disease and it was incurable. We cried together, he then got up and walked out. We never cried again together.

What and when was your first interaction with him?

The first time I met Joost, was a few years after the 1995 Rugby World Cup when I got the World Cup captains together, including David Kirk, Nick Farr Jones and Francois Pienaar in 1998. My initial motivation was to unite people and players through sport. Joost was one of the players who put his hand up to make a difference.

Describe Joost as a rugby player.

Joost was one of a kind and well ahead of his time. If you wanted to play against him, you had to play like him or you were lost. Eighty-nine test matches speaks for themselves and 38 tries, twice as many as the scrumhalf who scored the next highest number of tries, is an incredible feat.

Describe him as a rugby legend.

His never-say-die attitude could inspire not only a rugby team but a whole nation and gave many something to believe in the toughest of times, on and off the field.

Describe him as a friend.

Loyal, but also brutally honest at times and often turned this brutality on himself, facing and never cheating “the man in the mirror”. He lived and loved life to the max and had an infectious laugh. His glass was always full, half water, half air. You need both.

What did you learn from knowing Joost?

Never give up. In the darkest days and hours, Joost only wanted two things, to see his two incredible children and to make sure that J9 (his foundation) was doing what it could to help people with MND. He wanted to alert the world to the plight of these sufferers.

I learnt that even I don't know what a bad day is. Joost did. His body became his tomb. MND is in my opinion the worst disease in the world. The day you die, your brain is as alert as the day you get the disease.

I learned what real friendships, integrity, family and brotherhood meant. His family were absolutely epic. His brother Pieter put his life on hold and made the most selfless sacrifices for Joost. He became Joost's alter ego.

What can the Jewish world take from Joost?

Live every day as if it's your last, because one day you're going to be right. Don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff. Surround yourself with positive, wonderful people. I know that Joost did.

Original Article:

Infographic: How much money was raised with the CEO SleepOut?

Yet another successful Sun International CEO Sleep-Out took place this year. Here are some of results and beneficiaries.


The 2016 CEO SleepOut saw South Africa’s C-Suite Members and Influencers spend a winter’s night on the streets gaining empathy for the homeless while raising funds for vulnerable communities.

“This year, just over R20 million was collected and banked so far,” said Gawie Marais, Partner at BDO, the CEO SleepOut Stakeholder Audit Partner. “Donations of R9 million will be awarded to the three Primary Beneficiary Partners equally; The ASHA Trust, Columba Leadership and The Steve Biko Foundation – all of which up-skill the youth and youth educators, or train in early childhood development. As just over R30 million was pledged, a further R10 million will also be divided equally and awarded to those Beneficiary Partners when collected,” said Darren Olivier, Trustee.

Caxton and CTP Publishers was one of the Stakeholders at the event with both Tim Holden, Executive Director and Jaco Koekemoer, Managing Director participating in the actual sleep out.

Caxton also produced the Homeless Talk supplement for the event as a fundraiser this year. The supplement took a look at the representation of homeless people, as well as factors that affect homelessness in SA. A nationally representative data study found that 14 million South Africans go hungry every day. Eleven schools registered and took part in the CEO SleepOut this year.

Summary of funds raised:

number one

The remaining funds were used to manage this mammoth operation and its associated logistics, with R3 million being kept in reserve to launch The 2017 Event. Over two years, R34 million has been donated to charity, representing 73% of The Project’s income revenue.

number 2

The C-suit members and ambassadors 

number 4

The CEOs who raised the most funds were Brett Levy, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Blue Label Telecoms Ltd, Paul Dunne, Chief Executive Officer, Northam Platinum Ltd, and Gavin Varejes, Executive Chairman, Richmark Holdings.

The primary and secondary beneficiaries included:

number 3

Secondary Beneficiaries in 2016 included Homeless Talk, The Salvation Army, and Gift of the Givers, which all benefited from The Projects affiliated to The CEO SleepOut.

The full participant numbers

number 5

More CEO SleepOut results

number 6


number 7

Article originally published midrandreporter.co.za

Gavin Varejes has once again been invited with the prestigious task of handing out the Springbok Jerseys to the team before their test match on Saturday 5th November at Wembley Stadium in London.

This is the second time that Gavin has handed out the jerseys to the National Team. He did this back in 2013 when Heyneke Meyer was coach as well as with the Springbok Blitzbokke in 2016, where he handed the jerseys out to the Sevens Team in Cape Town.

“Gavin is a very passionate Springbok supporter and we value his tremendous contribution to the team. He is not only a sports enthusiast and accomplished businessman, but also a great humanitarian. It was fitting that someone of his stature presented the Springboks with their match jerseys for the international against the Barbarians at Wembley.” said Rayaan Adriaanse, spokesperson for the Springboks

Bok Jersey Handover

On Thursday 13th October, Cell C held their annual CEO Awards at Gallagher Convention Centre, where staff, clients, distributors and dealers were treated to an evening of glamour and awesome entertainment.

Mr Jose dos Santos, CEO of Cell C presented awards to his staff in celebrating their achievements and to recognize those individuals who have gone above and beyond for the company.

The award for Ambassador of the Year was handed to Mr Gavin Varejes, Executive Chairman of Richmark Holdings in honor of his contribution and loyalty to Jose and the team.

We congratulate Gavin on an outstanding award which is so well deserved!

Gavin Varejes Receives Ambassador of the Year Award

Gavin Varejes, Executive Chairman of Richmark Holdings and President of South African Rugby Legends presents gifts to Eben Etzebeth and Francois Louw on reaching their 50th Test caps.

"We are so proud of these young players achieving this wonderful milestone in their careers. It shows how much passion and love they have for the game and making us South Africans a truly great rugby nation"
said Gavin Varejes.

The gents visited the offices of Richmark Holdings where Gavin hosted them to a lunch and an opportunity to see some of the amazing rugby memorabilia that he has been collecting for the past 20 years.

Gavin Varejes celebrates Boks 50th Test

PRIVATE equity investment company Universal Partners has announced its intention to list, although it does not yet have any assets into which to pump the R1bn it plans to raise from the initial public offering.

The Mauritian-based company said on Monday it would seek a secondary listing on the JSE’s alternative exchange, AltX, after raising £80m from the private placing of its shares.

The fledgling company — it was incorporated and registered in Mauritius just three months ago — has already secured £60m of this amount from anchor investors such as Global Capital; a consortium that includes Universal Partners chief financial officer David Vinokur and Investec Bank; Richmark Holdings; and Credo Wealth.

Richmark is an investment holding company led by Gavin Varejes, while Credo Wealth is an adviser with £2bn in assets under administration.

Vinokur said three Universal Partners executives would collectively pledge "at least R75m".

"The money raised will be transferred to Mauritius on listing and will be converted into (British pounds)," said Vinokur. "These funds will be invested into a combination of short-term money market, fixed deposits, and negotiable certificate of deposit instruments earning interest, until such time that appropriate investments are found."

This marks a departure from Ethos Private Equity, which is listing a separate vehicle, Ethos Capital Partners, to give mass market investors access to new and existing funds.

"There are currently no investments in Universal," Vinokur said.

"We made a strategic decision not to make any investments prior to listing in order to avoid any perception that the founding shareholders were getting any benefit on listing."

Vinokur said Universal Partners had a pipeline of potential investments, and planned to make its first investment within six months of listing.

"Universal’s primary objective is to achieve strong capital appreciation in (British pounds) over the medium to long term by investing in high-quality, cash-generative companies that meet the investment criteria set out in the company’s investment policy," he said.

It would also be an active shareholder in investee companies. Universal Partners is on an investor roadshow.

It intends to open its private placement on August 4. He said Universal Partners had received positive feedback during its meetings with investors.

The company wants to invest 80% of the cash raised in unlisted companies across Europe, specifically in the UK, with the rest of the funds earmarked for investment elsewhere.

Vinokur said he did not think the listing meant that traditional private equity was dying.

"We believe there will always be a place for the existing private equity model, especially in relation to where money is raised from institutional investors," he said.

Universal Partners to list on AltX and then seek investments

This article was originally published on Business Day

Gavin Varejes is currently 2nd on the list for most funds raised for the CEO sleep out 2016 just below Brett Levy from Blue Label Telecoms

Six CEOs from the South African tech industry are among the top 20 business leaders who have, so far, raised the most money for The Sun International CEO SleepOut.

The event will take place on the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein on Thursday night. It will see business leaders sleep on the streets for an evening, with a sleeping bag and cardboard floor-covering, to raise money and awareness of the plight of the homeless.

The CEO SleepOut Web site explains: "While this does not begin to simulate the reality of South Africa's most vulnerable children, it is a show of solidarity and a commitment to use business as a force for change."

Each CEO is required to commit to raising R160 000, and there is a leader board that shows how much each has raised so far.

In second place is Brett Levy, joint-CEO of Blue Label Telecoms, who has raised R347 500 already. Last year, he raised the most, achieving over R380 000.

His brother Mark Levy is at ninth with R184 000. MTN SA CEO Mteto Nyati has raised R171 100 so far and is in 12th place. In 16th place, Isaac Mophatlane, CEO of Business Connexion, has raised R163 830. He is followed by JJ Milner, MD of Global Micro Solutions, who has raised R161 800. Mark Rayner, CEO of MultiChoice SA, has raised R161 370 and is placed 19th.

These positions and figures are subject to change as more money is raised in the lead up to Thursday.

This year, the CEOs will each be joined by a staff member from their organisation, a student, and a matric learner. The idea is that these additional people, who show future business leader potential, will be able to network during the evening.

Last year, the event raised over R26 million for Girls & Boys Town. It was the largest sum raised by a single South African charity event.

It was also the largest amount of funds raised for any inaugural CEO SleepOut event. Sydney hosted its 10th event last year and Johannesburg raised more than Sydney did in its first year.

This year, there will be three beneficiaries − Asha Trust, Columbia Leadership and the Steve Biko Foundation − that will each receive an equal share of the net proceeds from the event.

The challenge was founded in 2006 in Australia and has since become a global movement, and aims to make businesses have a broader mandate than profits on its agenda.

CEO sleep out 2016

Gavin Varejes was nominated and has taken up the challenge by Brett Levy, Joint Chief Executive Officer at Blue Label Telecoms, to participate in The Sun International CEO SleepOut™, where business leaders will spend the night on The Nelson Mandela Bridge on Thursday 28 July 2016, gaining empathy and raising funds for education – a vital step on the road to eliminating homelessness.

In turn, Gavin took up the same opportunity to challenge Andrew Dunn from DNI to take up the same opportunity, which he gladly accepted.

What is the CEO Sleepout
The world is full of innovators and entrepreneurs, but there is a new world order when it comes to thinking about philanthropy. Today we talk of “social entrepreneurs” and “social innovation” that turns profits into positive change. Leading this new world order in South Africa is The CEO SleepOutTM.
Founded in 2015, The CEO SleepOutTM brand’s desire is to create a force for positive change and sustainable social impact in South Africa’s most vulnerable communities and societies, by forging relationships with those in a position of power and influence. Believing that the “old” system of raising funds and donations has run its course, The CEO SleepOutTM brand aims to create new, mindful fund-raising, where money is raised alongside understanding, empathy and deep insight into the lives of vulnerable, homeless South Africans.

It wants to give the “Have Gots” the chance to experience a short time as “Have Nots”, to awaken compassion in our leaders, to understand there is no “Us” and “Them” – only a “We”. The brand offers a chance to bring together people with enough financial and social influence to truly make a difference. It’s Capitalism With A Conscience.

The first wave of this new way of thinking about philanthropy washed over South Africa at the inaugural CEO SleepOutTM Event in 2015. Originating from The Vinnies Sleepout event held in Sydney, Australia in 2006, the CEO SleepOutTM Event on 16 June 2015 saw 247 CEOs and business leaders trade their Porches for the pavement, and spend the night outdoors on the freezing street of Millionaire’s Mile, Gwen Lane in Sandton. The event – the most successful fund-raising event in the history of South Africa – raised more than R26-million overnight. This year, The CEO SleepOutTMwill focus on EDUCATION and its role in helping to reduce homelessness.

The CEO SleepOut 2016