Streetsmart smart move for restaurants and beneficiaries!


StreetSmart Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioI have not been a great fan of the forced R5 addition to one’s restaurant bill without permission in Streetsmart restaurants, but after attending the presentation of monies to support the good community work for street children it is funding, and hearing what a difference the money makes to the less fortunate at a function held at The Salesian Institute on Thursday evening, my perception about Streetsmart has changed completely.

Established in 2005 by tour operator Margi Biggs as a means of helping street children, and now chaired by committee junkie Nils Heckscher (he has been or currently serves on the board of FEDHASA Cape, Cape Town StreetSmart Nils Heckscher Whale Cottage PortfolioTourism, the former Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and Tourism Marketing of South Africa), Streetsmart generated just over R900000 in the past year, and a total of R7 million since its establishment.  R5 is added to the restaurant bill per table, irrespective of the number of patrons seated at the table.  This money is transferred to Streetsmart once a month.  Streetsmart is also collected in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and in India.

Heckscher suffers badly from being in the shadow of his very well-known former TV star father in Germany, and feels that he needs to be a clown at functions which he addresses, perhaps not realising with how little credibility he comes across. StreetSmart Nik Rabinowitz Whale Cotatge PortfolioHe was no match to top comedian Nik Rabinowitz, who had the audience of restaurant owners, writers, and award recipients laughing their heads off.  I sat in the front row to take photographs, and Nik came right up to my iPhone (my Zulu phone, as he calls it!) to make sure that I got all of his face in the photograph.  He clearly did not know that I was a ‘silver surfer’, and that I knew what ‘lol’ means when he asked me!  Nik represented Archbishop Tutu, until recently a patron of Streetsmart.

Mari Vigar, co-owner of La Mouette and looking decidedly un-smart compared to her usual chic black dress code, presented a testimonial on behalf of Streetsmart, having joined a year ago. She said that she knew the name from the UK where it is also levied in some restaurants.  StreetSmart Mari Vigar 2 Whale Cottage PortfolioShe praised the system for being transparent, and for making them feel good in making a difference.  She likes that they know where the money goes, and said that it is a safe way in which tourists can make a difference whilst on holiday here.  They contribute about R40000 a year to Streetsmart.  She challenged other restaurants to join up too. Cyrilla Deslandes of Bizerca Bistro was the only other restaurant owner I saw at the event, while Georgie Prout represented Glen Carlou.  Surprising to see is how many Eat Out Top 10 restaurants are visible by their absence on the Streetsmart restaurant list, only five hundred, Jordan Restaurant, The Tasting Room, and Rust en Vrede offering the donation service.  Johannesburg and Pretoria restaurants have only recently been added.

The more touching presentations were from the beneficiaries of the money raised from the Streetsmart donations.  A student who had got into the wrong group of people and admitting to ‘doing the wrong stuff’, changed his life when he did a panelbeating course via Learn to Live at the Salesian Institute, he shared shyly but proudly.  StreetSmart Gertrude Gwenzi Whale Cottage PortfolioGertrude Gwenzi, a lovely social worker from Ons Plek, told the story of a young 15 year old orphan who was forced to come to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape with a much older man in an arranged marriage, was abused and made to do things she did not want to, and therefore ran away.  She was found by the Cape Town CCID, who brought her to Ons Plek as a safe haven for her to stay.  They helped her with medical examinations, with trauma management, and with support to take legal action against the man.  Six months later she was reunited with some relatives she discovered that she had in Cape Town.   Representative cheques of R120000 each were handed over to Learn to Live, Ons Plek, Home from Home in Cape Town and in Stellenbosch, and the Cape Town Multi Service Centre, while the Kusasa Project in Franschhoek received R130000.  A donation will also be presented to a project in Swellendam (R40000), and one in Johannesburg (R80000). The charity recipients account to Streetsmart about how the money is used.

The 81 participating Streetsmart restaurants are:

Azure @ 12 Apostles Hotel
Bizerca Bistro
Brooklands House
Cape Town Club
Catharina’s @ Steenberg Hotel
Frères Bistro
Harveys @ Winchester Mansions
La Mouette
Manna Epicure
Mint @ Taj Hotel
Myoga @ Vineyard Hotel
Nonna Lina
Ocean Blue
Olive Bistro
Pure @ Hout Bay Manor
Ritz Restaurant
Savoy Cabbage
Societi Bistro
Sunset @ The Peninsula Hotel
The Atlantic @ Table Bay Hotel
The Olive Bistro
Theo’s Grill
The Roundhouse
Tobago’s @ Radisson Blu
Toni’s on Kloof
Glen Carlou


Bread & Wine
Café du Passé @ Protea Hotel
Fyndraai @ Solms-Delta
Haute Cabrière
Le Bon Vivant
Le Quartier Français
Monneaux @ Franschhoek Country House
The Grill Room
Cuvée Restaurant
Dornier Bodega Restaurant
Jordan Restaurant
Makaron Restaurant @ Majeka House
Morgenhof Restaurant
Rust en Vrede
The Big Easy
Wedgeview Country House & Spa


Balata @ The Fairway Hotel & Resort
dw eleven -13
Five Hundred @ The Saxon
Karoo Cattle & Land
Licorish Bistro
Qunu @ The Saxon
Red Rabbit
The Griffin
Chapters @ Leriba Hotel & Spa
Copperleaf Café
Fumo Restaurant
Hemingway’s @ Leriba Hotel & Spa
Karoo Café
Karoo Cattle & Land
Leribisi Lodge
Mosaic at The Orient
Nguni Restaurant
Mobi Dicks Restaurant
Offthehook Seafood Café
The Fat Fish
The Table
Karusa Restaurant
Turnberry Restaurant

Out of this Planet Catering offered beautiful salmon canapés after the

StreetSmart Salmon Whale Cottage Portfolio presentation.

Streetsmart South Africa. Tel (021) 418-0621.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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6 replies on “Streetsmart smart move for restaurants and beneficiaries!”

  1. A most worthwhile charity, transparent and honest too! My restaurant has been a member since 2005, as we are a neighbourhood restaurant we do not enforce the R5 per bill donation as the system desires, but we allow our guests who are mainly locals, donate if they wish. We place the SS cards in the bill box. We might not contribute as much as others but our guests contribute regularly and it all goes to a great cause

    • Well done Vicki to you and your patrons.

      The number of participating restaurants is extremely low, given the number of restaurants, and the franchised restaurants and multi-restaurant owners such as Reuben Riffel, the Townsend brothers, and Giorgio Nava should set the example. Perhaps they could charge per person and not per table, and so make far more money for such a worthy cause.

      • Agreed Chris, I tried to recruit other restaurants on behalf of SS about a year ago and had little to no success, I am sure the unsigned, multi-restaurant groups have been approached, it really is a pity. I will certainly bring your suggestion to the people I know at SS. Warm Regards.

  2. Isn’t this something that hospitality establishments could assist with also, rather than just restaurants?

    • What a nice idea Brandon.

      One could ask the guests to contribute to Streetsmart rather than to the car guards!

      Other than the Twelve Apostles Hotel, I have just realised there is not one Camps Bay restaurant on the list.

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