Loop On Location: Shared Interest's Annual Awards Gala
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 Harry Belafonte, South African pop band Freshlyground, and freedom fighter and social justice activist Father Michael Lapsley at its 19th Anniversary Awards Gala in New York City, on March 18.
Guests and dignitaries arrived ahead of the the night's headlining honoree, Belafonte, 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 peace 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.