Vivian Reddy launches multi-million rand community and skills centre for Bayview residents

Durban businessman and philanthropist, Vivian Reddy. Picture: Instagram

Durban businessman and philanthropist, Vivian Reddy. Picture: Instagram

Published May 24, 2024


The newly opened multi-million rand Bayview Ubuntu Community Centre offers a beacon of hope for residents of the impoverished community.

The community and skills centre, built by Durban businessman and philanthropist Vivian Reddy and the Sibaya Community Trust, aims to offer the community a platform for residents to get valuable skills and resources, that will empower and enhance their livelihoods.

Reddy, whose relationship with the community started 25 years ago through the late political leader, academic and activist, Fatima Meer, said he is excited to see how the centre will change the lives of those who walks through its doors.

“When the textile industry took a big knock and there was massive unemployment and poverty in that community, I was taken there by the late Fatima Meer, to see what I could do for them.

“She introduced me to a then young Brandon Pillay (activist), and since then I’ve been supporting the community on an annual basis through various contributions, events, feeding schemes. And we got very involved in the community,” said Reddy.

He said back then one of things that Meer and him discussed was that he would build a community centre and a school training centre when land became available.

Almost two decades later, the plan has come to fruition.

“We talked about training the people in lifestyle skills, like brick-laying and basic plumbing, sowing, and other things to help them get employment.

“That has finally come to fruition because about two years, Brandon Pillay managed to source the land and my trust has contributed R9.5 million towards this amazing centre,” Reddy said.

He added that the school training centre is dedicated to Meer.

“We thought it will be very appropriate because she took me there to help the people, and I think it’s a fitting tribute to someone that’s given so much to the struggle for a better life for South Africans.

“We believe that the establishment is going to be a game-changer for the Bayview community.

“It’s going to offer a platform for residence to learn valuable skills and I am hoping it will empower them to uplift their lives,” he said.

The Bayview Ubuntu Community Centre will become a hub for education, training, community engagement and will foster support to uplift the community.

Aside from that, it will house a daily soup kitchen, to make sure that Bayview and surrounding residents do not go hungry.

“We are getting the community involved in a soup kitchen, because we believe the people and children that can not afford a meal a day shouldn’t go hungry,” Reddy said.

As a young boy, he was taught that “a rich man is poor if you can not share your wealth to uplift the less fortunate”, and, with this motto in mind, Reddy’s trust has contributed more than R270 million to support about 160 organisations around the greater Durban and KwaZulu Natal area.

“We are very dedicated to ensuring that the projects we do have a lasting impact on the lives of the less fortunate. I just believe that if you equip people with skills it will help them to make a better for themselves.

The community centre will be available to everyone but the school training centre will focus on the youth, especially females.

“We believe that if we can equip females with skills like sowing, manicure and pedicures, hairstyling, then they can create their little enterprises in their own homes,” said Reddy.

“I think it’s very important given the circumstance of the country and were we have one of the highest poverty rates in the world, that businesses reach out and find out how they can uplift the community,” he said.

He said he hopes that the Bayview Ubuntu Community Centre and the Fatima Meer School Centre is going to create a beacon of hope for the Bayview community.

“It’s going to be like a lighthouse standing on a hill which would have never been possible if we as business didn’t reach out and support a community like that.

“There are a lot of businesses doing good, but we need more to reach out and support the people that are really in need. It’s really difficult times for the unemployed and the poor in this province.

“If all businesses look at the communities in which they operate in and develop skills training centres and equip people with skills, we could help bit by bit to resolve the unemployment crisis that we are facing in this country.

Reddy ended by paying a special tribute to Pillay, the chairperson of the Bayview Flats and Residents Association, community activist and member of Parliament, for the tremendous sacrifices he has made for the betterment of the people of Bayview.