South African stars to aid Japan relief efforts

Well-known South African celebrity Lalla
Hirayama started a fundraising initiative
to help Japanese earthquake and tsunami
(Image: Aid for Japan SA)

• Lalla Hirayama
Aid for Japan SA
+27 12 431 2000

SA concert to aid Haiti
South Africa reaches out to Haiti
SA medics in Antarctic rescue
Supercomputers to the rescue

Nosimilo Ramela

South African celebrities will be hosting a fundraiser on 27 March 2011 to help Japanese earthquake and tsunami survivors. The event, called Aid4JapanSA, will take place at The Zone in Rosebank, northern Johannesburg.

An estimated half a million people have been displaced in Japan after it was hit by a 8.9-magnitude earthquake on 11 March – the biggest to have hit the island nation in 140 years. More than 20 000 people were believed to be dead or listed as missing by 20 March.

Lalla Hirayama, a well-known model and television presenter who now lives in South Africa, came up with the idea of the fundraiser. Hirayama was born in Hiratsuka, Japan, where some of her friends and family still live.

She said she was urged to do something because there are South Africans and Japanese people living in the country who want to do something to help. “Many people want to help, but don’t know where or how to get in touch with the right relief-fund communities. This will obviously give them a direct way of helping.”

Local and international backing

The Japanese embassy, Red Cross and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency are all supporting the event. Local celebrities who have confirmed their attendance include reigning Miss South Africa Bokang Montjane; comedians David Kau and Loyiso Gola; and radio and television presenters Bonang Matheba, Poppy Ntshongwana, Elana Afrika, Shashi Naidoo and Janez Vermeiren.

Musicians and DJs such as JR, Slikour, Proverb, DA Les, Unathi Msengana, Lulo Cafe, DJ Switch, Thembi Seete, Clint Brink, Danny K and C-Live will also be at the event. There will be live performances by the comedians, musicians and DJs.

The aim of the event is for the celebrities to interact with the South African public and encourage them to make donations. There will be a Red Cross desk run by the celebrities where people will be able to go and offer financial assistance to the relief effort in Japan.

The local stars will be on hand to sign autographs for fans and have pictures taken with them, and there will be foosball and basketball celebrity challenges to boost the fundraising drive.

Representatives from Heat, People and You magazines, and those from television shows such as The Real Goboza, V-Entertainment and Mzansi Insider will attend and cover the event. They will interview both celebrities and members of the public who attend, and will use the platform to encourage further donations. Celebrity blog sites Jucyafrica, Mika Stefano, Justcurious and Wonted will also cover the event.

“I will be going to the event and making a donation to help the people of Japan,” said Lindiwe Cebekhulu from Bryanston, northern Johannesburg.

Cebekhulu said she hopes that other South Africans will also support the event and make a donation no matter how small. “Whether you can make a large contribution or a little one, it will surely go a long way to help.”

“I am proud that South African celebrities are doing something to give back and help the people of Japan during this really difficult time,” said Taelo Thlodi from Krugersdorp, which is west of Johannesburg.

Thlodi said he feels encouraged by the initiative and wants to attend the event. “I also want to make a difference. Instead of just watching the events on television and feeling sorry for the Japanese people, I want to attend the event and actually do something to help the earthquake survivors.”

Local NGOs Rescue South Africa and Gift of the Givers are currently in Japan helping with the search and rescue mission.