Prisoners roped in to help reclaim South Africa’s world title for Mandela

03 February 2016 - 20:19 By TMG Digital
An attempt at a Guinness World Record was made at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday as part of the 'Good Wool Cup' project against xenophobia. The goal was to collect more than 21 000 blankets, which are to be handed to the poor during the winter as part of the 67 minutes Mandela Day initiative. Philanthropist Carol Steyn said the idea began as 'banter' between herself and Nelson Mandela's assistant Zelda la Grange
An attempt at a Guinness World Record was made at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday as part of the 'Good Wool Cup' project against xenophobia. The goal was to collect more than 21 000 blankets, which are to be handed to the poor during the winter as part of the 67 minutes Mandela Day initiative. Philanthropist Carol Steyn said the idea began as 'banter' between herself and Nelson Mandela's assistant Zelda la Grange
Image: PETER MOREY

Earlier this year‚ the foundation broke the Guinness World Record for the largest crocheted blanket‚ measuring 3‚377m² that was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The Guinness World Record has now awarded the title of the largest crochet blanket to Mother India's Crochet Queens‚ who managed to unveil a blanket 11‚148.5m² in size on 31 January 2016. The world record team said on its website that participants from Chennai‚ where the project was initiated‚ as well as many states within India and also 13 other countries‚ contributed to the making of the one crochet blanket.

“Well done India on beating 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (South Africa) record!! Amazing feat!!! You have presented us with a giant challenge!‚” the 67 Blankets for Mandela founder Carolyn Steyn said on the foundation’s Facebook page.

“On April 22 this year we will attempt to break your record at Drakenstein Prison in Cape Town!!! We need more countries to rise to this challenge. Together we can bind the fabric of our nations and our world together through bright‚ colourful thread and keep millions of people warmer over all the winters to come! One stitch at a time...‚” she posted.

For the upcoming blanket drive‚ Steyn has partnered with prisoners and the department of correctional services. "This will show the world how we are knitting broken lives together‚" she says.

They join the ever-growing number of ordinary citizens who have taken up knitting or crocheting for charity. The foundation has also just welcomed the 9000th person to like its Facebook group‚ 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (SA).

This year’s blanket challenge will commemorate the second anniversary of Madiba’s passing and forms part of the country’s 22 years of democracy celebrations in April.

A blanket will be placed around the statue of Mandela at the Drakenstein Prison in the Western Cape. Formerly known as Victor Verster Prison‚ Mandela spent the last years of his incarceration in a house at the facility‚ and where he took his iconic walk to freedom.

Once measured‚ the blankets will be given to charity.

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