Durban - Durban businessman Vivian Reddy celebrated his 60th birthday at a private party at his Umhlanga home on Friday night, with 150 close family and friends, business partners, royalty and the who’s who of the ANC.
Guests included King Goodwill Zwelithini, First Lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.
Yesterday’s birthday celebrations at uShaka were a more public affair with 10 000 disadvantaged children given the time of their lives. The day ended with the Reddys entertaining 1 400 guests in a glass marquee with a stylish high tea including a slice of birthday cake.
The gigantic cake was 5m high and 4.5m wide and weighed 2.5 tons.
The king was again present, as were Premier Zweli Mkhize, uKhozi FM’s Linda Sibiya, DJ Siyanda, Lira, Bheki Cele and his wife, Thembeka, and MEC for local governance Nomusa Dube.
The birthday celebrations coincided with the 35th anniversary of Edison Power, Reddy’s company.
Reddy, who also has interests in property and casinos, is married to TV and radio personality Sorisha Naidoo.
Friday night’s do was held at the Reddys’ luxurious modern mansion.
No expense was spared to entertain his guests, with Remy Martin XO cognac, which retails for R1 700 a bottle, flowing freely.
King Zwelithini and Queen Thandikela Jane Ndlovu, who came with an entourage, were among the first guests to arrive.
The queen chose an Indian traditional look, wearing a navy blue sari.
Madiba-Zuma looked elegant in a body-hugging, peach asymmetrical dress which, she told the Sunday Tribune, she designed.
She was flying solo as President Jacob Zuma is believed to have been tied up with AU commitments in Ethiopia.
The Sunday Tribune was surprised to see the leader of the Ekuphakameni faction of the Nazareth Baptist Church, Inkosi Vukile Shembe – surprised because the church normally eschews partying.
Free State Premier Ace Magashule was also there.
Radebe and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba arrived fashionably late, but in time to sing Happy Birthday.
Ethekwini mayor James Nxumalo and his wife also made an appearance.
Formalities included speeches and birthday wishes by guest speaker Dr Iqbal Survé, chairman of the Sekunjalo Group. Survé made headlines this week when he bought the South African arm of Independent Newspapers.
He spoke fondly of his long-time friend Reddy, describing him as humble and an inspiration.
Reddy was presented with a cake shaped like his favourite car, a Bentley, which he cut to a chorus of Happy Birthday.
Among his gifts were bottles of pricey Moet champagne and a rare bottle of Meukow XO cognac. But it was a R330 000 Franck Muller Swiss watch that caught everyone’s attention. The gift was bought by Sorisha.
After the formalities, guests made themselves comfortable in a large marquee in the garden while traditional Indian cuisine, Italian fare and seafood were served from smaller marquees. The menu was prepared by SA Masterchef winner Deena Naidoo.
As the night wore on, guests were entertained by eThekwini Speaker Logie Naidoo, who took to the stage and sang various karaoke favourites.
The children being entertained at uShaka yesterday each received food vouchers and a slice of a R1 million cake. They were also treated to a dolphin and puppet show.
Reddy paid uShaka Marine World to have the Wet ’n Wild and Sea World sections of the theme park closed to the public yesterday.
With regard to closing the attractions, marketing manager Bongani Mthiyane said it was for extraordinary circumstances.
“We have never done this because we don’t hire the venue out.
“However, we are a place that provides entertainment for kids and we thought it would be nice to contribute on such a big scale.”
Mthiyane would not reveal how much Reddy paid to have the theme park.
“We negotiated a viable business price. We have not done him any favours. He paid, just like any other person.”
But a source told the Sunday Tribune that the more people, the less it would cost to hire the venue.
“It is possible that he might even have got a 50 percent discount,” said the source.
Reddy spent R10m on the two days of celebrations, with half believed to have been spent on entertaining the children.