Johannesburgers hot under the collar for BowTieMan

01 November 2018 - 13:37 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Gert-Johan Coetzee's bowtie collection auctioned for charity on October 31, 2018
Gert-Johan Coetzee's bowtie collection auctioned for charity on October 31, 2018
Image: Afrika Tikkun

Fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee has offered up his favourite accessory to help the BowTieMan raise cash for education.

Coetzee donated three bow ties that were auctioned off at the Afrika Tikkun Wings of Life Centre gala dinner on Wednesday night in Rivonia‚ Johannesburg.

Selling for a total of R15‚000 were a wooden bow tie‚ a black avant-garde one described as baroque in design and a conservative style bow tie in fine stripes.

“It’s very hard for me to say goodbye to these bow ties. They are so close to my heart and it’s also a little bit nostalgic and part of my history as Gert Coetzee. (But) it’s amazing to be able to give back. I hope the new owners of these fabulous bow ties will appreciate them‚” Coetzee said.

The designer says wearing a bow tie brings about a feeling of quirkiness and becomes an extension of one’s personality.

“[It tells] the world about who exactly you are without saying a word‚ and that is the power of fashion‚” Coetzee added.

The highest bidder‚ Dipesh Radia‚ said he was going to frame his purchase.

“I liked the wooden bow tie; it’s the one that caught my eye. I really love bow ties; it’s something I learned from my grandfather and my uncle‚ who gave me ten bow ties when I started my job.

“I always had an interest in them‚ but I bought them because this is such a tremendous charity. I didn’t know about the initiative before and I’m gonna be more involved in it from now. It’s a birth of something I’m gonna start being involved in‚” Radia said.

The Afrika Tikkun NGO adopts a 360-degree approach to education by providing not only access to schooling‚ but also to health and social services‚ to young people and their families through centres of excellence in South African townships.

The bow tie initiative is a fundraising campaign by Canadian-born teacher Chris Megaffin. Coming from a completely different world‚ he was shocked to learn that many children in South African schools use the pit-latrine system and go to tumbledown school structures.

Megaffin‚ now known as the BowTieMan‚ pledged to wear a bow tie for a year. He kicked off the campaign on January 1 and plans to wear a different one each day until December 31. Megaffin said he was happy the auction night was a success.

“It’s a great way to have fun while contributing to an important cause. I’m going to sell the other bow ties at the Christmas market at my school and auction some more off as well via my website‚” he said.

To join the bow tie challenge‚ upload a photo of yourself wearing a bow tie to any social media platform with the hashtag #thebowtiechallenge.