Harry Belafonte Saluted For His Lifelong Social Justice Activism
1 month ago
Shared Interest honors heroes in the pre- and post-apartheid struggle for equality in South Africa
When you tell folks Harry Belafonte is going to attend your fundraiser gala, it's not too hard to nearly sell out $5,000 tables. That was the case at Shared Interest's 19th Annual Awards Gala in New York City, held on March 18.
Shared Interest, a nonprofit social investment fund serving Southern Africa's farming communities and other local entrepreneurial pursuits, honored award-winning singer, actor and activist Belafonte, South African pop band Freshlyground, and freedom fighter and social justice activist Father Michael Lapsley.
Guests and dignitaries arrived ahead of the the night's headlining honoree to enjoy the sounds of South African music. Freshlyground, honored with the Next Generation Award, performed a set of songs, including "Waka Waka," the official 2010 FIFA World Cup anthem featuring singer Shakira. Father Lapsley, who lost both of his hands during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, gave an uplifting speech, appealing to the audience for healing and justice -- even in New York City, evoking and criticizing the NYPD's stop and frisk policy. Belafonte, still a showman at age 86, regaled attendees with sobering life lessons on the meaning of sacrifice.
Since 1994, Shared Interest’s mission has been to mobilize the resources for Southern Africa's economically disenfranchised communities and build equitable nations. With investment from partners like financiers J.P. Morgan, which received this year's Corporate Award, Shared Interest's loan guarantees and technical support have benefited more than two million black South Africans – the majority of them women.
Loop 21 spoke to some of the night's honorees. See what they told us in the graphic below: