Glendale’s Fish Braai

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Despite the sweltering heat, Capetonians came out in their droves last month to support the 8th annual Glendale’ famous fish braai.

A social occasion with a purpose, spirits were high as a team of more than 35 volunteers arrived early to set up. Vegetables were chopped, flowers picked and drinks packed in ice. The farm stall, braai stands and food stalls were manned and eager raffle ticket sellers embarked on a crusade to encourage visitors to buy as many tickets as possible — all with the hope of winning one of the great prizes and enriching the home’s needy coffers.

Convener Julia Rabie was thrilled with the turn-out of young and old to support the Retreat-based home’s 64 residents, the oldest of whom is 81.

“We started off in 2000 with 70 visitors. This year, including the residents, we had about 550 people, which is a record number.”

Rabie said that people had told her that the 2009 fish braai was “the best ever”.

“Had it not been for Selwyn Schiff and Bernard Zive, who donated the food, there would not have been a fish braai,” she said.

For Rabie, who works tirelessly throughout the year to ensure the event runs smoothly, the fish braai is her way of giving back to Glendale. Her daughter Rochelle is one of the residents.

“I was exhausted afterwards and could not sleep — I think I was on a high,” she said. “It was wonderful to see that we had so many young people. It is a pity they don’t come during the year.”

Anton Gillis, the young owner of the Fire and Ice Hotel, brought four of his staff members to assist. “It was part of their social responsibility programme,” he said.

Taking shade from the hot sun under a tent were visitors including Kathleen and Marcelo Souza, the Baron family and Pearl Lobel and Riva Bloch. For the carers and their charges, the open day is one of the highlights of the year. Residents young and old lined up to have their faces painted or they tucked into ice cream and chocolate sauce, all the while chattering away excitedly to anyone who would listen.

After a delicious lunch, which consisted of a spread of pasta salads, green salad, rolls, mielies, brinjals and juicy Cape salmon, all attention turned to the men with the microphone. Looking forward to his regular moment in the spotlight, resident Charles Brand thanked everyone for coming, before Glendale committee member Selwyn Solomon kicked off the proceedings.

Auctioneer Joey Berk wooed the crowd with sweet nothings as he pleaded with them to raise their bids for items such as jewellery, art, furniture, a hand-made quilt and a leather handbag. A beautiful rug, made by Glendale resident Simone Derman, raised R4 500 for the home and a colourful handmade quilt sold for R11 000. Karen Borochowitz was delighted with her signed Pieter Van der Westhuizen print of Jerusalem, which brought in R19 000 for Glendale. Winner of the grand prize, four nights in the Kruger National Park with flights and accommodation included, was the lucky Jackie Levitt.

Glendale committee chairman Solly Greenstein said that the event had run smoothly “with a great atmosphere but just terribly hot”.

The money raised from the fish braai will be deposited into the newly established medical assistance fund.

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