Art with a heart

22nd Jan, 2019

There’s something so uplifting about turning trash into treasure. Being able to ignite a creative spark in the hearts of children in need and raise funds for animals takes it to a whole new level. That’s exactly what the Savara – Giving is Living Initiative, along with several talented South African artists, is doing to help the Western Cape animal welfare organisations of Wolwerivier Outreach Work, Mdzananda Animal Clinic and SANCCOB.

Giving is living

Sioni Mavani-Puri, founder of Giving is Living (GiL), explains that the Giving is Living initiative was set up in 2015 to offer aid to animal charities across South Africa. They began by taking groups of volunteers found through Savara to various animal charities, bringing donations with them and assisting at the charity’s premises.

Sioni says, “GiL formed relationships with these charities and started to understand the large-scale need each organisation had.

“In 2018, GiL began work on their first major project, the Pieces for Paws Art Auction taking place at the Atlantic Beach Golf Estate Country Club on the 16th of March 2019, to raise money for township-based organisations Mdzananda Animal Clinic and Wolwerivier Outreach Work (W.O.W.), and marine bird rescue organisation SANCCOB.”

Treasures from trash

Sioni describes how, during GiL’s visits to both Mdzananda Animal Clinic and Wolwerivier, they experienced how these organisations not only help the animals of these townships, but also the community.

Says Sioni: “Both Mdzananda and W.O.W. had an incredible relationship with the people of these townships, and so GiL saw an opportunity to involve the residents in the form of an Art Workshop for the children of these townships, collaborating with the some of the artists who had donated works for the auction.”

Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha Township hosted the first art workshop on the 24th of November 2018. The theme: creating art from trash collected in the area. Sioni explains that “The goal was to inspire the children of Khayelitsha artistically while raising awareness of the importance of keeping their community clean and showing them that something beautiful can be created from something ugly. This art would then be used as a part of the auction and the children would receive prizes for their participation.”

Creative kids

The workshop was a huge success. The volunteers were met at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic by forty very excited and very eager children. Artists Anthony Evans and Jurgen Dunhofen, along with a team of enthusiastic Giving is Living volunteers, brought art supplies, food, drinks and sweets, and the talented young artists were treated to a delicious braai (barbecue) lunch. Their artworks would be auctioned off in order to bring funds back to help their communities. To thank them for their efforts, GiL sourced prizes in the form of experiences – the participants will be treated to a glass-bottomed boat trip to Seal Island.

According to Sioni, the problem they found is that the reason why so many dogs are neglected is not only because of lack of resources, but a lack of education and knowledge.

Sioni says that “By spending time with these children making art it was an opportunity to teach them the importance of looking after their animals – simple things like ensuring they have water, regular tick and flea treatment , and having a safe, warm kennel for them to sleep in. It is up to us to teach the next generation the importance of looking after these animals.

“The other reason we wanted to get them to make art from trash was to show them to look for the beauty and possibilities in improbable situations. Many of the children just spend their time idle on the streets. Idleness leads to experimenting in terrible vices, and we wanted to show them that you can do other things with your time other than getting into trouble. Picking up some trash and actually making something beautiful out if it not only fills them with pride, but it teaches them to be creative and shows them that anything is possible if they just put their mind to it. And most importantly, it was a way to show them to clean up their streets, not to leave trash lying around, and to look after our world.”

Following the first workshop’s success, another is planned for the 2nd of February 2019, this time in conjunction with W.O.W. for the children of the severely impoverished township of Wolwerivier Township. Ten children from the township and four local artists will be creating a one-of-a-kind artwork at the home and studio of renowned artist Richard Scott on the 2nd of February 2019.

Check out the heart-warming pictures and video of the first workshop here:

Pieces for paws

Giving is Living didn’t stop there; once the art had been created, the group realised that something more was needed to bring in the much-needed funds to look after the animals. In order to attract more people to the auction, they invited local artists to donate their work.

“Before we knew it, the ball started rolling,” enthuses Sioni. “In addition to the children’s artworks, we now have over sixty artists and sculptors donating their work, and Atlantic Beach Country Club in Melkbos near Cape Town kindly sponsored the venue for the event. Without them it would have made this event very difficult to achieve.”

The talented artists donating their works to the auction are: Anton Smit, Anthony Evans, Alan Raubenheimer, Amy Marie Watson, Aviva Dodson, Anika Joubert, Bernadette Taylor, Candice Johnston, Carrol Boyes, Charmaine Charni Batt, Christelle Flame Musmann, Cherie Roe Dirksen, Cheryl Cattanach, Christopher Reid, Clare Hearne, Cornelie Wolff, Creative Copper, David Bucklow, David Griessel, David Kuijers, Diane Long, Dyanne Jackson Brown, Edinkira, Frans Smit, Frans Thoka, Grant Netherlands, Gerard Thys, Hennie Niemann Snr, Izak Niemann, JD Ross, Jurgen Dunhofen, Kyle Rinquest, Lara Mellon, Leonie E Brown, Leila Fanner, Lelane Hartman Bouwer, Lize Du Plessis, Lizelle Esterhuizen, Lorenzo Bruno, Lucinda Watermeyer, Mandi Knee, Martinus Van Tee, Melissa Niemann, Mervyn Dragsund, Michael Funksumone Wolmerans, Natasha Bell, Peter Majaha Mumbi, Reece Swanepoel, Rene Yaffes, Richard Scott, Shani Mavani-Ramnarain, Steven Manuel, Stefanie Rijnvis, Susan Proctor Hume, Tendai Dlamani, Tertius Van Dyk, Thabiso Dakamela, Themba Mkhangeli, Therese Rink Streicher, Tony De Freitas, and Wilma Cruise.

The auction

Join Giving is Living for an evening of art, wine, cocktails, canapes and entertainment at the prestigious Atlantic Beach Country Club, Melkbosstrand, with auctioneer Joey Burke on the 16th of March 2019 between 18h00 and 22h00.

To book tickets to this exciting auction, visit – sales close on the 15th of March 2019.

Find out more

To find out more about this exciting initiative and the organisations it will be helping, please visit

For more info, please email or, or call 082 881 5598, and follow them on Facebook at @givingislivingSA (

Giving is Living has partnered up with JDI (, a public benefit organisation which helps small foundations to handle incoming funds and distribute them to the selected charities. This way, people who donate, purchase work, etc. can know for sure that the money is going into an official account to be distributed by them directly (and won’t be used for personal reasons).