Picture: Jacques Naude / ANA

IT WAS hats, heels, the rustle of money and the passing of cheques as the Dr Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation celebrated Women's Month on Saturday at the CSIR in Pretoria.

The event was also used to share information about South Africa's second-biggest killer - diabetes - and encourage participants to dig into their pockets to ensure the spread of information and technology.

The Hats, Heels and Bow Ties high tea was an event to usher in spring and the venue was a burst of colour as women turned up dressed in dainty frocks with hats perched atop their heads. Men, invited to the event for the first time in its five-year history, did not disappoint as they came decked in suits, bow ties and hats.

The event is held during Women's Month and, as the First Lady told her guests, “ not just tea and cakes, but to ensure that the rural people of the country receive the information and technology they desperately need to survive”.

Ngema-Zuma said: “It is a matter of urgency that we address diabetes.”

The point was stressed by Pretoria philanthropist and businesswoman, Dr Anna Mokgokong: “Through information and technology, we can allow companies to be productive, and families to stay together longer.”

Social justice advocate Mbuyiselo Botha added that the work done by the foundation in its effort to reach the furthest corners of the country was near impossible.

And guests at the event did not fail the call to pitch in and assist in raising funds for preparations for World Diabetes Day in November, with cheque books coming out and the speed-point being put to good use as they bought art work on auction.

But art work was not the only item up for auction and, while paintings fetched an impressive R50000 for unknown artists, a dinner date with President Jacob Zuma fetched R110 000. This was promptly donated back to the foundation as people were urged to assist in ensuring that more people were saved from death by diabetes.

As they shared goodwill and the spirit of giving, participants - including ministers Edna Molewa and Thokozile Xasa, a delegation from the Chinese embassy, spouses of ministers and mayors - also shared tips on make-up, social media etiquette and enjoyed pastries and wine.

The event was rounded off with a raffle where names were drawn from a hat and gifts given, and, then, in the true nature of a women’s day event, it was time for cakes and tea.