Gold to warm the heart

Do we focus enough on South Africa’s humanitarian heart? A Pretoria businessman, Arno Egen, believes that acts of kindness can dispel our gloomy outlook when it comes to crime. This is what motivated him to respond to humanitarian ambassador Shaleen Surtie-Richards when she herself was a victim of crime earlier this year.

Surtie-Richards is highly regarded for her contribution to film and television in South Africa where she regularly plays the roles of characters who are strong and fighting for the underdog. Remember her brilliant portrayal of a mom desperately trying to hold onto her child in Fiela se Kind? Even her popular character Nenna in Egoli was kind-hearted and salt of the earth. The award-winning actress is also a true humanitarian off the screen. She is a motivational speaker and is well known for taking a stand on behalf of the underprivileged. Surtie-Richards has also partnered with the Gateway Health Institute as their ambassador for Human Rights and received the Institute’s Inspiration Award at a black-tie event in April this year.

Recently, the humanitarian actress experienced what it was like to be on the receiving end of an act of kindness after she was robbed.  While she was driving through Johannesburg, she had her chain, which carried a Krugerrand and even more sentimental pieces of jewellery, pulled roughly from her neck.

“It was a very scary moment and an invasion of my privacy but the heartache of losing my parents’ wedding rings far outweighed the shock and fear,” she said. Egen, owner of Mr K, a gold bullion and numismatic specialist and made-to-order jewellery manufacturer, reached out to the popular South African personality by offering to replace what was stolen.

“We know what a humanitarian Shaleen is and wanted to offer her some comfort. This was the best way we knew how,” says Arno. Surtie-Richards was blown away by Egen’s offer. “I am still speechless and cannot believe his kindness and amazing offer. Just when we start losing faith in our country someone comes along to remind us how beautiful it really is,” she says. “Arno’s act of kindness really warms me. I was very close to my parents and wearing their wedding rings on my chain was my way of remembering them. To have the jewellery taken so violently from me just broke my heart. I am so grateful to Arno and his team at Mr K.”

The actress and bullion specialist met to discuss the design and manufacturing of her new jewellery. Surtie-Richards worked with the illustrator Gerard Snyman who captured the emotion and sentiment of Shaleen’s story and translated that into the design she requested. After the personal and meticulous design journey, the final pieces are ready!

Arno proudly presented Shaleen with:

  • a Krugerrand
  • a personalised pendant that she designed with Mr Kruger’s illustrator
  • a personalised ring that is a replica of her Father’s wedding ring, she also designed this together with Mr Kruger’s illustrator

“I am so overwhelmed! Not just by the generosity but how Arno and his team have manufactured exactly what I requested. The pieces I designed with their illustrator are more beautiful than I imagined. Thank you so very much Arno and the team at Mr K! Words can’t actually describe how you have warmed my heart and soothed my loss! Absolutely stunning! Thank you!” exclaimed Surtie-Richards upon receiving her jewellery.

Arno was so excited to present Shaleen with her pieces and when seeing her emotional response he said, “To see Shaleen overcome with emotion and so happy about her pieces makes this so worthwhile! We need to appreciate the role models in our country who speak for those who can’t and stand up for what is right. I hope that Shaleen and I can remain good friends and she continues with her amazing humanitarian work!”

For a closer look at the manufacturing of Surtie-Richards’ jewellery pieces go to Mr K’s Facebook page and for more information about Mr K and their services please go to