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By Amn Nwabisa V. Dlevu, AD ASTRA Magazine, photos by WO2 David Nomtshongwana

The Annual Chief of the Air Force Benevolent Golf Day took place on 15 May 2009, at the Waterkloof Golf Club. The Chief of the South African Air Force (CAF), Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano, addressed the audience at the dinner and auction in the function hall, and said that disability was a devastating reality that lurked in our community, waiting to strike.

CAF addresing the audience at the evening function

He further said that disability does not discriminate; one’s social standing or financial means has no bearing on whether one's child would be disabled or not. Children are maimed by accidents, medical oversight, natural disasters, freak accidents, and criminal activities. Family fun next to a pool can turn into lifelong regret, with escalating costs and severe challenges to human existence.

“When we come across disabled people, we have been taught to be courteous and not to stare,” said Lt Gen Gagiano. The Sinothando project aims to provide assistance to serving members of the SAAF who face the challenges of caring for a child with a disability. It provides financial assistance for day care, assistive devices and unconventional therapy. It also brings together parents to gain moral support from each other.

CAF teeing up.

Many of these of types of therapy are not covered by medical aid schemes. Often, special dietary needs and vitamin supplements are also not provided through official medical channels.

The project has almost doubled in size since its establishment, and in the current economic situation the need is growing on a daily basis. The project in 2006/7 donated R197 923 to fourteen families and also assisted with the establishment of a DOD Braille media centre to the amount of R45 650. In the 2007/8 financial year the project donated R241 000 to eighteen families and also assisted with the establishment of the Tape-aids for the Blind Centre in Durban.

Master of Ceremonies, Mr Andy Scott reading out the certificate

This year the generous participation in last year’s Golf Day enabled the SAAF to donate to the Sinothando families the amount of R305 000. The main sponsor of this year’s event was BAE Systems, who ensured through their generous support that the fund-raising target was reached.

On the day, 36 teams teed off as a lonely Hawk aircraft flew over at exactly at ten o’clock. With the great weather to complement the game, it was certainly a spectacular event. Mr Andy Scott, the Master of Ceremonies, did a fantastic job in communicating with the audience.

Mr Johan van Vuuren from AMG handed over a golf set to Lt Gen Gagiano as a contribution towards the development of golf in the SAAF. The Chief also received a painting by Daryll Legg, a foremost South African aviation artist, from Mr Hakan Gustafsson from SAAB Gripen.

CAF receives a golf set

The floating trophy for the best team was awarded to the Denel Corporate Team. The Denel PMP team was the best-dressed team. Three items were auctioned: firstly, a picture of a Hawk that was donated by BAE Systems; secondly, a holiday package made possible by the SAAF Fund with 1Time Airline tickets; and thirdly, transport provided by Landrover Midrand. Lastly, Denel Aviation won the bid to be the main sponsor for this event in 2010.

The floating trophy winners, the Denel Corporate Team


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