The life of a Durban child from an impoverished background will never be the same again after the birthday of Durban tycoon Vivian Reddy.
Reddy, a philanthropist and ally of President Jacob Zuma, will celebrate his 61st birthday in a one-of-a kind bash, hosting 10 000 children from 120 disadvantaged schools and orphanages.
No expense will be spared, it emerged on Friday from a well placed source, as Reddy was forking out R3 million to treat the children.
In a day that will be filled with pampering and “ultimate” fun, the children will be ferried by 142 buses from various Durban townships and rural areas, including KwaMashu, Umlazi and Ntuzuma, to Moses Mabhida’s People Park. Once there, the children – who will be wearing specially designed yellow T-shirts bearing the faces of Nelson Mandela and Reddy – will be greeted by 1 200 trained marshals.
The theme for the party is “One dream, 10 000 smiles” and it will be dedicated to the memory of Mandela.
“It will be a day of fun and games. The kids will get to be kids and not worry about their current situation,” said Reddy. The day had been in planning for weeks, he said.
While all the children, aged between eight and 12 years, will go back to their homes with smiles, gift packs and other goodies, it will be a life-changing day for one child who will be plucked from poverty and “adopted” by Reddy and his family.
“All 10 000 children will receive cupcakes,” said Reddy.
However, one cupcake will have a sachet of pretend diamonds and the child who finds it will be given a “lifetime lifestyle make-over”.
“Basically the child will become a member of my family,” said Reddy, adding that the lucky child’s school fees and tertiary education would be taken care of by his Vivian Reddy Foundation.
“We’ll even help find a job for the lucky child, who will also get to spend holidays with my family,” he said.
On the itinerary, Reddy said the guest speaker would be Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Other guests will include eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo, former Miss South Africa Tatum Keshwar and television stars from Generations.
“The children will get to mingle with all the stars. They will have the time of their lives, playing on rainbow inflatables and slides,” said Reddy.
All the play equipment, he said, would be donated to Childline the next day for fundraising purposes.
Another three children will win themselves and their school a share of R75 000 prize money in an art competition.
“Yes, it’ s my birthday, but I choose to celebrate it with as many people as possible,” he said.
Later that day Reddy will host a quiet dinner for close family and friends, and business partners.
“I’m building up for my 65th birthday where I will have 65 000 kids. It will be a huge ball,” he said.