SUNDAY TIMES - Concert for Qunu as Madiba's family gets busy for Mandela Day
Sunday Times News By MATTHEW SAVIDES, 2015-07-12 00:00:00.0

Concert for Qunu as Madiba's family gets busy for Mandela Day

Tourists look at signs at the Nelson Mandela Museum, in the village of Qunu. File photo

Nelson Mandela's family will not spend what would have been his 97th birthday together, but they promise to be out in full force to honour his legacy on July 18.

Mandela Day events being hosted by the family include the official opening of a school named after the former president's late son, and the first live concert to take place in his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Various clean-up events, the donation of toiletries and a home makeover for a child-headed household are other planned activities.

Mandela's grandson Ndaba said the family would be more active this year than last.

He said last year's Mandela Day events, the first after his death in December 2013, were more low-key than in previous years.

"Last year, of course, we were still coming out of the mourning period. Especially for us as Africans, we really take the first year to heart," he said.

Ndaba's Africa Rising Foundation has partnered with several organisations and companies to take on five projects in Qunu and other villages in the district.

Among them is a visit to the paediatric ward of the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha, where they will host a party for the children, paint the ward and donate fresh linen.

Ndaba will also put on the first concert to be hosted in Qunu, taking place at the Nelson Mandela Museum. Around 2000 people are expected to attend.

Norwegian musicians Nico & Vinz, whose hit Am I Wrongtopped the Billboard adult contemporary chart last year, will join Ndaba in his activities.

While the concert takes place, Ndaba's elder brother Mandla, chief of Mvezo village, Mandela's birthplace, will officiate at the opening of a primary school named after his father, Makgatho Lewanika Mandela.

President Jacob Zuma will also attend the opening, and will help to erect a wire fence to prevent livestock from coming onto the school grounds to graze.

Meanwhile, several hundred kilometres away, Ndileka Mandela will hand out a year's worth of sanitary pads to girls at the Kgamane High School in Mpumalanga.

They will also paint classrooms.

"In this school there are 380 girls, and across the country there are more than threemillion girls, who are affected and who miss school for up to 60 days per year," she said.

Ndileka, Mandela's oldest grandchild, said this was not a once-off project.

"This is something that we work on through the year. We want to make a critical impact, we don't want to do a hit-and-run and just do the thing on the day," she said.

And when she is done at the school she will head to Mandela's home in Houghton, Johannesburg, where some family members will get together for lunch.

Yase Godlo, the Mandela Day manager at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said the organisation would be involved in a number of events starting tomorrow.

On Wednesday it will be packing food parcels in Midrand and on Saturday the foundation will do a home makeover for a child-headed household in Tembisa. It will also help to knit 67 scarves at a knit-a-thon at the University of Johannesburg.