By Darla Shelden
The Vilakazi Foundation has announced its third annual Wine for Wickets wine tasting event to raise funds for children in South Africa. Wine for Wickets will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, November 16, at the Myriad Gardens Terrace Room, 301 W. Reno Ave., in Oklahoma City. Guests will enjoy an evening of food, music, art, a silent auction and South African wine.
Wine for Wickets began as a way to showcase South African culture and the work being done at the Vilakazi Foundation. “It’s a great time to celebrate South African food, music, artwork and the incredible wine,” said Leigh Jacobs, president of the Vilakazi Foundation.
“We are a group of Oklahoma volunteers who are passionate about helping the children in South Africa. In August, board members and volunteers traveled to South Africa where we were able to help about 1,200 children as result of the wonderful support we’ve received in Oklahoma City,” said Jacobs. “As an organization, we are dedicated to improving the lives of South African children and events like Wine for Wickets help us continue our mission.”
The Vilakazi Foundation is an Oklahoma City based 501(c)(3)-nonprofit that provides medical, school and athletic supplies for children in South Africa. The organization is named after Vilakazi Street, the lane in Soweto, South Africa that was home to Noble Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
“Wickets are pieces of equipment used while playing cricket, which is popular in South Africa,” said Jacobs. “The Vilakazi Foundation has three main focus areas: education, health and athletics. Our goal is to lift up the child, body and mind. So we came up with the name as a reminder that we encourage play, physical activity and teamwork.”
The event will feature a brief presentation of the foundation’s recent trip to Knysna, South Africa. In August, Vilakazi volunteers provided kits to 23 preschools in the area that included cleaning supplies, sports equipment, toys, books and first aid kits. The Oklahoma City-based charity also provided first aid training to teachers in the area. 350 backpacks containing school and health supplies were also distributed. Jacobs will discuss the experience in Knysna, aided by photos and videos, as well as Vilakazi Foundation’s plans for the future.
“We are ecstatic to say that Aunt Pittypat’s Catering will be providing our cocktail menu,” said Jacobs. “We are honored that Chef Christine Dowd and partner Maggie Howell are supporting Vilakazi. For our tasting list we like to mix reds and whites and we will bring back two crowd favorites: Goats Do Roam and Jam Jar,” said Jacobs. “We’ll also have a mystery wine pull.”
Silent auction items will include a Devon boat cruise on the Oklahoma River, an autographed photo of Russell Westbrook, artwork from South African and Oklahoma artists, as well as jewelry and other items.
“Some of our board members have donated beautiful artwork and jewelry they bought while volunteering in South Africa this summer. We also have local artists, including photographer Doug Hoke, who have donated their beautiful works to auction off.”
All of the proceeds raised from Wine for Wickets will purchase medical, school and athletic supplies for children in the South Africa.
Leigh Jacobs, a native South African, and his wife, Carrie from Oklahoma City, founded the Vilakazi Foundation in 2009.
Tickets are $25 purchased in advance online, or $30 at the door. There is also a Designated Driver Discount ticket for $10 online or $15 at the door.
“We hope you’ll join us and support our effort to improve the lives of South African children,” said Jacobs.
For more information or to purchase tickets online visit www.vilakazifoundation.org.