The picturesque village of Kylemore is tucked away in the mountains between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. A significant proportion of its inhabitants work on the surrounding wine farms but work is seasonal so unemployment is high and resources are scarce.

I have written about Kylemore before. Aitsa! is a vibrant After-Care centre while Community Keepers takes care of the psycho-social needs of the school learners. Funding for these projects is mainly sourced from local farmers and corporates.

But 6 years ago a group of local school friends, by then all business professionals, decided that they too could raise money to help their own community.

It all started with a game of cricket …. naturally. As school boys, these 9 friends spent every summer holiday playing cricket together on the streets of Kylemore. This usually culminated in a friendly cricket tournament arranged at the end of the holidays when teams from various parts of the village would play against each other.

Over a decade later in 2014, this group of friends decided it was time for a re-match. But this time, they thought it would be a good idea to use the game to raise money towards a good cause. There was a young man in the community who needed help to cover expensive medical bills after a long illness.

Now these guys were all professionals in accounting, management, IT, engineering and logistics, but none of them had any marketing or fundraising experience. Undaunted, they decided on a strategy that would not only raise money, but would bring families and the community together.

“We charged a small fee to spectators,” explains Angelo Lawrence, one of the 9. “We asked everyone to dress up in the colour of their favourite team, and we formed an additional team of fathers.”

“The tournament was scheduled for a Saturday in early January. We bravely started off at 10.00 with only a handful of spectators and the music blaring, but by 12.00 there was no space for a mouse. The whole village came out to support us and we raised R35 000 on the day. Everybody was so impressed!”

Flushed with their success, the 9 guys decided to take this idea further. They formed the Kylemore Charity Fund (KCF), with Angelo Lawrence as chairman and spokesman, and the rest making up the formal structure of a committee.

Their next target was to hold a Family Day over the Easter Weekend. “We identified 5 children in the community that needed help, but we also wanted to encourage families to bond and the community to get together,” explains Lawrence. So instead of selling individual tickets, we sold plots where families could congregate. Children were given a discount if they sat with their parents, and grandparents were also incentivised to sit with their families. We also set up stands where the men could gather around the fire and barbecue the family’s food. We thought through the interaction of the people very carefully because we wanted to integrate everyone.”


That day they raised a whopping R70 000. The money was divided up equally between the 5 needy children, but instead of just handing over the cash, they set about arranging for what each child needed. One child needed a ramp built for wheelchair access to the house, another was given vouchers for much needed food and so on.

“Initially we simply gave away all the money we raised to the specific cause,” explains Lawrence, “but soon we realised we needed to keep back a portion to fund the next fundraiser.

Next up was a charity ball with a dress-up theme, a 3-course meal and dancing. Not everyone could afford the ticket price, so the following event was called the After Party, where young people could pay an entrance fee to a concert with live music and food stalls.

And so these 4 events have become regulars on the Kylemore calendar, with over 3 000 people attending the Cricket Day held in January this year. Unfortunately the Family Day had to be cancelled because of Lockdown, but the funds in the kitty for that event were quickly turned into food parcels for the community.

The KCF has now moved their focus from funding individuals to funding projects within the community. And speaking of which, KCF has had an astounding impact on bringing the Kylemore community together. Lawrence explains: “There used to be clear divisions within the community, but attending our events and raising money for people within the community has brought people together. Parents are keen to let their children attend our events because they know they will be safe. Guest houses are full, shops are busy, the whole community benefits. And when people read about KCF in the newspapers or hear them on the radio, they are proud.”

Lawrence sites a recent example when just last week he posted a fundraising initiative for supplying the needy during Lockdown on the GivenGain website at 11.00 in the morning. By 18.00 he had already collected R23 000 from a community stricken with their own uncertainties and jobs at risk.

To think that the “gentleman’s game” of cricket, inspired these gentlemen to get together to honour their community in more ways than one – a truly inspiring story, and surely an inspiration for other villages to get together and do the same.

  • While the Family Day had to be cancelled because of Lockdown, the KCF is keen to turn it into a Festival next time. They are currently looking for sponsors to co-host the event with them. For more information please contact kylemorecharityfoundation@yahoo.com or Angelo Lawrence personally on (074) 684 2900






- By Julia Moore