No Gup­tas in night of Gandhi

Sunday Times - - News The A-listers -

● There might not have been a Gupta in sight, but a few min­is­ters, a for­mer first lady, busi­ness folk and even an ex-Gen­er­a­tions ac­tress turned up for the In­dian high com­mis­sioner’s din­ner last Sun­day.

Held at the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, this knees-up was part of the In­dia-South Africa Busi­ness Sum­mit.

In­dia in­vests about $8-bil­lion (about R101-bil­lion) in our econ­omy while we have a $1-bil­lion stake in In­dia’s.

“Tonight we hon­our our coun­tries through col­lab­o­ra­tion, our peo­ple with com­pas­sion and our shared his­to­ries through art,” was how In­dian high com­mis­sioner Ruchira Kam­boj summed up the evening, which was themed around Nel­son Man­dela and Ma­hatma Gandhi.

Some­one kept on their toes was cou­turier Gavin Ra­jah. Not only did he put to­gether the evening but, along with new de­signer Stephen van Ee­den, the A-Lis­ter showed a col­lec­tion in­spired by In­dian khadi cloth.

Grammy-win­ning flautist Wouter Keller­man and the

Trib­hangi Dance The­atre pro­vided the rest of the en­ter­tain­ment. Fit­tingly, our three-course meal’s starters in­cluded cau­li­flower and brin­jal pakoda driz­zled with chakalaka oil. Mains fea­tured tikka-flavoured chicken, Bal­lan­tine and bobotie. Dessert was spicy bur­fee ice cream, marsala-in­fused milk tart and car­damom flavoured malva pud­ding.

Seated at the main ta­ble along­side Noel Tata, the chair­man and MD of the epony­mous In­dian multi­na­tional, was Zanele Mbeki, wife of for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki, in a great African print dress. A cou­ple of seats away was In­dia’s min­is­ter for com­merce and in­dus­try, Suresh Prabhu, who gave the night’s key­note speech, and was flanked by his South African coun­ter­part, Rob Davies, and Pravin Gord­han, our min­is­ter of pub­lic en­ter­prises.

Else­where around the room I spot­ted bil­lion­aire Vi­vian Reddy, who, like those ab­sent Gup­tas, is known for be­ing tight with for­mer pres­i­dent Jacob Zuma, Gold­man Sachs’s Colin Cole­man, his glam­orous other half, Ne­rina Labuschagne, and for­mer Gen­er­a­tions ac­tress Ta­rina Pa­tel.

Pic­tures: John Lieben­berg

Rob Davies, Suresh Prabhu and Pravin Gord­han at the In­dian high com­mis­sioner’s din­ner at the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre last Sat­ur­day.

Zanele Mbeki, left, and In­dia’s high com­mis­sioner to South Africa, Ruchira Kam­boj.

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