Sitting under a blanket of stars on an evening preceded by a perfect Cape Town sunset, we were delighted to welcome back guests, friends and supporters to Ellerman House for the 13th annual ArtAngels event on the 25th of November.

This well-established charity auction is one of the highlights of our year, bringing together artists and art-lovers in the name of children’s education to raise funds for Click Learning; the non-profit education initiative set up by the Harris family nearly a decade ago. Created to address the literacy crisis in South Africa, the foundation deploys online English language and numeracy programmes in under-privileged primary schools across the country.

Weak student performance in these areas of education in Foundation Phase (Grades 1-3) constitutes one of the major factors leading to poor learning outcomes in later grades, ultimately affecting employment and income potential. Unfortunately, in South Africa, recent studies show that 78% of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning, while 63% of Grade 5 learners show no basic mathematical knowledge.

The fallout of the global pandemic has compounded the issue further, with an estimated 750,000 learners not returning to school once lockdowns were lifted, and those that did having lost over a year of teaching time. These extremely troubling statistics make clear the urgent need for action if we are to ensure that South Africa’s future leaders are a generation of smart, skilled, techno-savvy citizens.

Click Learning’s ambitious objective to reach one million learners through technology-based literacy and numeracy programmes by 2025 is the driving force behind ArtAngels. The net proceeds of the event go directly to the foundation, with 10% being channelled back into the arts in the form of a scholarship at the Ruth Prowse School of Art and funding for the Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize.

It is with immense gratitude that we are able to share that this year’s auction and raffle raised an astonishing R4.2 million for its beneficiaries. This is thanks in no small part to the generosity of the artists who donated their works for the auction, our friends and partners who donated prizes for the raffle, our sponsors and suppliers for helping to put together an evening of fantastic wine, food and entertainment and, of course, our guests for helping to raise a staggering amount of money in support of Click Learning.

The depth of our appreciation for your contribution is difficult to express; suffice it to say that your generosity will be seen and felt by the 250,000 learners we hope to assist next year, helping them to catch up on months of lost learning and cementing foundational literacy, numeracy and digital skills that will open the door for a prosperous future.