Crystal Palace midfielder, CPFC Foundation ambassador and South African International Kagisho Dikgacoi launched his charitable foundation on the 26th October at the Guoman Tower hotel, overlooking London’s iconic Tower Bridge and spectacular skyline.
Over 80 people attended the drinks reception and gala dinner, hosted by one of South Africa’s most talented and entertaining comedians Loyiso Gola. At the launch, Gola spoke of why he was supporting the foundation.
“If someone has the ability to change another person’s life with their abilities, that is great. In Kagisho’s case it is football. And if I can help someone help others, then I want to be involved,” he said. “This is a gentleman who plays sports at the highest level, he has no obligation and is doing this out of his own goodwill.”
Among those who showed their commitment to the Kagisho Dikgacoi Foundation by attending the launch were Alec Moemi, director general of sport and recreation for South Africa, who travelled to England to attend the event and Bongiwe Qwabe, the acting high commissioner for South Africa.
Both expressed their admiration about the work of Kagisho Dikgacoi to help disadvantages young people in South Africa.
“This is a great start for the initiative, it is a big thing for our country and our children and we as the South African government support this,” said Alec Moemi. “Kagisho Dikgacoi and his idea of sport as a catalyst for social change is an inspiration,” added the director general of sport and recreation.
In an interview Bongiwe Qwabe spoke of the importance of successful South Africans in the diaspora supporting those back home. “It makes me very proud to be here. As the government we can’t do everything. We need the support of civil society and these are the sorts of initiatives we have been promoting,” said Qwabe, who added that the turn out to the event was a testimony to the support for the foundation. “The highlight for me is the number of South Africans who have come, it shows they are thinking of home and want to help.”
Others who turned out to show their support for the launch of the foundation included several of Kagisho’s fellow team mates from Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak, Danny Gabidon and Damien Delaney, as well as John Battersby of Brand South Africa and Hayley Short of Foodbank South Africa. Donald Forde of the Crystal Palace FC Foundation, Kathi Scott of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Andrew Steel of DNA Fit were also in attendance.
Donald Forde was quoted as saying “We’re extremely privileged to have KG as our Ambassador, a couple of hours ago, Kagisho you were playing your heart out for Palace against Arsenal. To be here, literally a few hours later to launch your own foundation speaks volumes about your commitment to improving the life chances of children and young people in South Africa.”
The launch was celebrated with performances by dance group Zulu Tradition and RnB singer Tshwarelo “Relo” Nhalpo, with the South African national anthem sung by opera singer Njabulo Thabiso.
A charitable auction of signed merchandise from international sports stars, including Thierry Henry and Muhammad Ali, other celebrities, and former South African president Nelson Mandela took place to raise money for the Kagisho Dikgacoi Foundation.
Kagisho Dikgacoi spoke of his gratitude to all those supported his foundation. “Many thanks to all those who came, your help has been greatly appreciated, the launch has gone well,” he said. “The foundation means a lot to me. I have been doing charity work by myself for some time and I am launching this foundation to raise more money for the less privileged and I hope it is a success,” he added.
The foundation will be established as a charity in the coming weeks, with a board of trustees to advise on the programmes being developed.
For further information and interviews about the Kagisho Dikgacoi Foundation please contact:
Bongi Nethononda +44 (0) 7742 621 900
Mahlatse Naomi Lekota +44 (0) 7983 155 029
The Kagisho Dikgacoi Foundation aims to provide opportunities for under 19s to help improve their lives through sports. The foundation supports the education of young people in South Africa, helps them develop their self-esteem and fitness and promotes social inclusion.
The foundation has partnered with Foodbank Foundation South Africa, which distributes meals to over 1,000 communities in the country.
Kagisho Dikgacoi plays for British premiere league club Crystal Palace and the Bafana Bafana national team. Born in 1984 he grew up in Brandfort near Bloemfontein in South Africa.
He says football took him away from the streets and from the temptations of falling into criminal activities and drug abuse and was inspired to take up the sport by his grandfather.
Kagisho made his international debut in the UK for Fulham in 2009 and has been playing for Crystal Palace since 2011. Before starting the foundation he has been involved in a number of charitable works. These include mentoring young footballers through the Crystal Palace Foundation and a Youth Tournament in his hometown in South Africa.