Durban - FANS from as far afield as Cape Town and Johannesburg attended a variety fund-raising concert on Saturday in aid of ailing comic and radio presenter Neville Pillay.
The event, billed as Friends of Neville, featured comedians Mo Vawda, Masood Boomgaard and Annalakshmi as well as DJs Manik Thor and Kevin Rebellious.
It was held at The Warehouse in South Beach, Durban.
Pillay, who featured in The Indian Detective and Kings of Mulberry, suffered a stroke and a heart attack. He later heard his kidneys were failing and he needed dialysis. Pillay does not have medical aid.
Boomgaard, who worked with Pillay, said he agreed to be part of the line-up as he wanted his friend to recover fully.
“He needs to come back to where he belongs - on stage. What happened with Neville was an eye-opener for a lot of people, including myself, because it was a stark reminder of how things can change in someone’s life. Nobody is immune to having a downturn like he has had.
“Fortunately, in this regard, there are a lot of people willing to assist, but what happens to the next comedian or artist that this happens to, that might not get the same support for whatever reason?”
Pillay performed a short skit before calling his wife, Carol, to the stage.
“My wife has been my biggest supporter. It is the first time in 23 years that she has accompanied me to an event. She is the rock that has kept me and my family strong. I am blessed for her.”
He also told the audience that he lost 40kg because of dialysis and felt better.
“I began walking about on my own last week and it feels so good to do something we take for granted. I am also hopeful that I can start working again. I even began thinking of material, so I can make my comeback.”
Pillay said the love, messages and support from well-wishers encouraged him to keep fighting.
Suren Chetty, who travelled to Durban from Johannesburg with his family, said: “When my wife heard about the variety concert, she said we needed to come down.
“Although we never met Neville personally, we have been fans of his
for years and we wanted to support him.”
A Cape Town couple said they did not expect Pillay to make an appearance and enjoyed his comedy skit.
Four hundred tickets were sold and the funds raised, about R22000, will assist with Pillay’s medical expenses.