Vela – A Stellar Evening

In April 2016, the city of Seattle welcomed the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for the very first time in its history. For this occasion, The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation and Ndlovu Care Group teamed up with local HIV/AIDS project 30/30 for a private “friendraising” event.

The aim of the event was to bring together individuals and organisations and to share stories of courage, connection and hope, in order to raise awareness and funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS


The evening featured inspirational stories by the following people:


Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person ever to circumnavigate the world by sailboat and founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Sir Robin’s story encourages people to think big and to follow their passions, no matter how difficult the challenges may seem.


Dirk van Daele, investment banking financier, initiator of The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation and Clipper Round the World Yacht Race alumnus. Dirk experienced first-hand the challenges experienced and skills learned during ocean racing, and this inspired him to expose underprivileged South African youths to a global sailing adventure. The work of Dirk and The Foundation is a testament to believing in your own strengths and maximising your individual potential.


Dr. Hugo Tempelman, founder of the Ndlovu Care Group together with his wife Liesje. Hugo was the first in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa, to set up a free antiretroviral rollout site for AIDS patients in 2003, which went against the political will at the time. Ndlovu continues to pioneer HIV/AIDS solutions in Limpopo, where one in five of the population is infected with the virus, and they have won awards for their holistic and sustainable approach to healthcare.


Julie Lewis, a 30­year HIV survivor and mother to Ryan of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, founded the 30/30 Project to improve access to comprehensive healthcare in communities impacted by HIV/AIDS by building 30 medical facilities worldwide. On World AIDS Day 2015, Julie became the honoured recipient of the Nelson Mandela Changemaker Award.


Boitymela or “Charlotte” Maila, a South African orphan who experienced the devastating consequences of AIDS first-hand in her own family. At the age of 10, she found her way to Ndlovu and joined their Youth Choir. Ndlovu helped her become a Sapinda Rainbow Ambassador and she successfully completed leg 6 from Qingdao (China) to Seattle in the 2015-16 Clipper Race. Hers is a story of endurance, inspiration and hope, despite seemingly unsurmountable odds.


The constellation “Vela” is found in the southern sky and is Latin for a “ship’s sails”. In Greek mythology, a heroic sailing expedition which overcame many obstacles so impressed Poseidon that he turned the ship into a constellation. The constellation representing the sails of that ship became known as “Vela”.



Photos © Mike Nakamura