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Do more than a once-off 67-minutes deed‚ urges Mandela Foundation

07 July 2017 - 19:59 By Suthentira Govender
Former president Nelson Mandela. File photo.
Former president Nelson Mandela. File photo.

Volunteering 67 minutes of your time for Mandela Day is good‚ but no longer enough.

That’s the word from the Nelson Mandela Foundation‚ which ahead of Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18‚ has appealed to South Africans to make sustainable long-term efforts to help the country’s indigent.

Foundation head Sello Hatang‚ said the organisation was “grateful for everyone volunteering 67 minutes of their time in the past” but “it become increasingly troubling for us … that the Mandela Day campaign serves as momentary relief for recipients".

Hatang said the foundation is now determined to “look at new and more meaningful ways to express the acts of kindness in our communities” and has decided that tackling poverty was “critical”.

“We call on South Africans to volunteer for projects that will alleviate poverty‚ whether that be building a house for someone who has never had a home or plating a food garden at a school to feed pupils.

“July 18 should be the start of taking action‚ not the end. We want South Africans and those around the world to commit to long-term‚ regular projects that will tackle poverty‚” said Hatang.

Now‚ for the first time‚ the foundation has developed a Mandela Day guide - intended to help the millions who pay homage to the late statesman by giving back.

Yase Godlo‚ the foundation’s Mandela Day manager‚ said the guide demonstrated that those who observe the day don’t need to make great changes to fit the new approach to Mandela Day.

“Knitting blankets does not have to be a once-off‚ volunteers will be encouraged to knit blankets year-round for those in need. Those who plant vegetable gardens at schools could still do so on July 18‚ but are also urged to commit to planting more gardens.”


Put together stationery packs for teachers at an under-resourced school;

Make sandwiches to give to people living on the street;

Give blood;

Offer to fix things at a local school or organisation;

Throw a tea party for children and carers at a children’s home;

Fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice;

Teach someone to use a computer and the internet; and

Make “care” kits (including a comb‚ toothbrush‚ soap and a face cloth) for patients at a government hospital.