UFH - Golf Day - Supplied

A beautiful day of golf turned into a beautiful day for Fort Hare as the 2023 Chancellor’s Fundraising Golf Day and Gala Dinner on Friday raised R1.4-million.

This represented a 33 per cent year-on-year increase following the Fort Hare Foundation’s tally of R1.1m at last year’s event.

Eighty-four golfers of all skill levels arrived at the East London Golf Club mid-morning to enjoy a round at one of the country’s best-known courses.

With the club’s 18 holes looking a picture, they set about driving, chipping and putting into the late afternoon, enjoying every moment as they made new friends and reminisced with old ones.

But, as Foundation director Nokulunga Mnqeta pointed out, the day was about so much more than just golf.

In 2016, during the institution’s centenary celebrations, it was acknowledgement that Fort Hare’s infrastructure was ageing, dilapidated in some areas and not aligned to modern standards.

To address the elephant in the room, the Foundation was granted seed funding by the university and mandated to oversee an infrastructure fund.

UFH - Golf Day - Supplied

In the space of seven years, the Foundation has raised an impressive R20m – one fifth of the original target amount.

The Chancellor’s event was the latest in the drive to secure infrastructure funding.

Mnqeta said Fort Hare’s annual golf day in Johannesburg had been equally successful in securing support from a range of stakeholders, including corporates and former students.

“The East London event was wonderful because everyone knew that we were doing it for a good cause.

“We also had the best weather. It was all beautiful.”

A festive prize-giving at the conclusion of the final round served as the ideal primer for the evening’s gala dinner at The Venue in the Hemingways Mall.

So appealing was the event that Mnqeta was still receiving requests for tables throughout Friday, meaning that more than 100 guests attended.

With the entertainment world-class, it was no surprise that everyone wanted in on the action.

A professional auctioneer accepting bids for pieces produced by Fort Hare’s fine arts students as well as guests being treated to fine dining and jazz performances made for an unforgettable evening.

Mnqeta could not have wished for the day to go any better. Most importantly, it showed that Fort Hare’s stakeholders were heavily invested in its future.