R50,000 for dinner with Obama

Dinner with former US president Barack Obama does not come cheap

President Obama delivers the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier this week.
President Obama delivers the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier this week.

Dinner with former US president Barack Obama does not come cheap – just ask the people who attended a gala dinner after his Nelson Mandela lecture on Tuesday and forked out up to R50‚000 for the privilege.

The gala dinner was themed “night of a hundred words” and held in Nasrec‚ Johannesburg.

Headline VVIP guests were President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel‚ former president Kgalema Motlanthe and human rights lawyer and long-time Mandela friend George Bizos.

The guests‚ including Maria Ramos‚ Trevor Manuel‚ Herman Mashaba‚ Zweli Mkhize and Matheto Nyathi, dined on beef stew‚ kingklip and oysters‚ while quaffing pricey whiskey.

After Obama reminded South Africans that “yes‚ we can” at the annual Mandela lecture‚ he addressed a more elite room at the gala dinner.

But it was no ordinary dinner – a “cheap seat” cost guests between R15‚000 and R30‚000.

The event was sponsored by Absa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation‚ with proceeds going towards funding the work of the foundation.

The gala‚ like the lecture‚ is an annual event meant to thank those involved and celebrate the lecture – which was delivered by Obama at the Wanderers Stadium on Tuesday to about 15‚000 people.

The packages for the gala included VVIP seating for 10 people at a cost of R500‚000 a table and seating for 16 people at R800‚000 a table.

Tier 1 seating cost R400‚000 a table and a regular tier 4 seat cost between R15‚000 and R30‚000.

Guests got a performance by Micasa’s J’Something‚ Lira‚ Judith Sephuma‚ Amanda Black and Vusi Mahlasela.

They performed a rendition of Johnny Clegg’s anti-apartheid song, Asimbonanga.

For starters‚ the guests enjoyed “Foraged Qunu – a tribute to a herd boy”.

This dish was local ashed goat’s cheese‚ textures of beetroot‚ charred corn and toasted hazelnuts delicately adorned with a mesclun of baby herbs‚ served with a bursting blood orange vinaigrette.

The main course offered three options‚ each served with isiphingo honey roast butternut and morogo.

The guests could choose between Moretsele-style beef stew served with soft maize‚ grilled malay kingklip served on a scallion of mashed potato with a decadent coconut and turmeric latte cream, and a vegetarian pescatarian vegan option of king oyster mushrooms on spicy edamame mash with grilled asparagus and lightly pickled radish.

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