Labia family donate R1m to Solidarity Fund, praise government
Despite currently residing in Milan, Italy, Natale and Antonia Labia have announced a donation of R1 million from the Charitable Foundation of the Labia Family, the Fondazione Labia, towards the national Solidarity Fund.
In a statement on Tuesday, the couple acknowledged the "enormous socio-economic damage that the shutdown has wrought across South Africa".
Referring to it as a gesture towards the rebuilding of South Africa following the devastating Covid-19 crisis, Natale Labia said: “These are unprecedented times for the country of our birth.
“I have witnessed the impact of this disease in Italy first-hand, but the enormous socio-economic damage that the shutdown has wrought across South Africa has caused tremendous suffering within our society. As a family, we feel that this is the least we can do.”
The Fondazione Labia was initially founded to assist with artistic and cultural education and development, particularly among the youth in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Built in 1929 to reflect the spirit of 18th century Venice, Casa Labia is the former Muizenberg residence of count and countess.
“While an emergency aid organisation like the Solidarity Fund is not the typical cause which the Fondazione was originally set up to assist, given these unprecedented conditions affecting millions of South Africans, we knew we had to step up to the plate,” said Antonia Labia.
“As a mother of three, it breaks my heart to see children hungry and families devoid of hope. We are optimistic that this can go some way to alleviating the plight of those who need it most in this beloved country of ours.”
Natale and Antonia chose the Solidarity Fund because they wanted to participate in the government’s rebuilding efforts.
“Whilst the response of the government to this crisis may not have been perfect, it has at least been determined and thoughtful – no government has managed this flawlessly.
"I can only imagine the enormity of navigating these challenges during this time. It’s a Catch-22 situation,” said Natale.
“My father and grandfather taught us that it is in the toughest moments that nations are built. The only way to deal with a crisis like this is by remaining united and doing what we can to move forward with hope. The toughest seas make the strongest sailors.”IOL