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WATCH | How South Africa commemorated Mandela Day

18 July 2018 - 15:44 By Ernest Mabuza‚ Suthentira Govender And Jackie Clausen

July 18 marks #MandelaDay. This is how people celebrated and spent their 67 minutes to honour the late Madiba.

Former president Jacob Zuma and his successor Cyril Ramaphosa put their political differences aside as they descended on Mvezo in the Eastern Cape to honour what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.

Mandela was born in Mvezo‚ a small village on the outskirts of Mthatha‚ and a short distance away from Mandela’s home in Qunu. The Mvezo event was organised by the Royal House of Mandela‚ in partnership with the Universal Peave Federation and the Eastern Cape government.

Meanwhile‚ Ramaphosa’s deputy David Mabuza attended the centenary celebrations at Nganana High School at Amsterdam in Mpumalanga. While Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu went to Pietermaritzburg‚ where Mandela gave his last speech before he was arrested in 1962.

The celebrations in KwaZulu-Natal brought with it gifts of sight‚ mobility‚ access to education and healthcare as well as spoils from a five-star hotel. In commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s centenary year on Wednesday‚ politicians‚ doctors‚ hotel executives and ordinary folk rolled up their sleeves to give back to the needy‚ the aged and the frail‚ in keeping with the spirit of the day.

In a bid to ease the pressure on state hospitals in the province in terms of a cataract surgery backlog‚ private facility Midlands Medical Centre committed to performing 67 surgeries free of charge‚ to restore clear vision to patients around Pietermaritzburg.

The hospital’s team of ophthalmologists and anaesthetists started performing the surgeries last month. By late afternoon‚ 54 of the 67 surgeries had been completed.

The hospital collaborated with Active Citizens Movement‚ Penny Appeal and Optical Alliance on the project which took more than six months to plan and cost over a million rand.

Seventy-four-year-old Janaki Padayachee was grateful for her gift of sight.

"I am so happy and excited to be able see‚ it didn't hurt a bit. I am just so grateful to all the doctors and staff here that have been wonderful. I had been on the waiting list at Northdale Hospital for three years."

The province’s health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo bought 50 bricks at R100 each‚ which will be used to build a six-storey building as part of renovations to the KZN Children’s Hospital in Durban.

Dhlomo was also expected to get involved cleaning and painting activities at the hospital. Dr Arthi Ramkissoon‚ head of the KZN Children’s Hospital‚ said the new six-storey building would be the “heart of the hospital complex“.

Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa also did his bit‚ by donating 67 wheelchairs to underprivileged people in Umthwalume‚ on the KZN south coast.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal marked the day with its 67 Rands for Mandela Campaign. The UKZN Foundation made an impassioned plea to the public to donate R67 towards student scholarships. The aim was to raise R1.5-million.

Durban’s five-star Oyster Box transported it’s famous high tea to a local old age home on the beachfront. Residents at The Association for the Aged Lodge were treated to a mini-tea.

Joanne Hayes‚ a spokesman for the hotel‚ said 15 staff members including the hotel’s manager Wayne Coetzee were to be part of the treat. The hotel‚ she said‚ had also prepared a feast of treats and it’s spa therapists would be providing “beautiful hand massages”‚ for the residents.

Other events across the country included‚ in Pretoria‚ Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thabang Makwetla leading a group of youth inmates from Emthonjeni Youth Centre and members of the public to renovate the Kameeldrift Crèche.

The crèche caters for 45 Grade RR and Grade R learners‚ and benefited through the painting of classrooms‚ installation of shelves in the library and donation of books‚ plumbing or repairing of water pipes‚ repairing of electrical cables‚ the cleaning of the premises and planting of vegetables.

In Cape Town‚ the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation staff treated 90 cleaning staff at Red Cross Children’s Hospital to high tea. They also distributed lunch packs to the homeless on the Grand Parade. They also served high tea to mothers and caregivers at the SOS Children Village.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane also played her part‚ visiting the Mkhephuli Secondary School‚ where she matriculated in 1988. Activities at the school included installation of shelves in the staffroom and the library‚ grass cutting‚ cleaning and gardening.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura and various provincial MECs participated in a number of activities as part of Mandela Day. These included Finance MEC Barbara Creecy officially opening an ICT laboratory at Mohlakeng Primary School and handing over a multipurpose sport court at Phandulwazi Primary School in Mohlakeng‚ West Rand.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa participated in the building of houses in Alexandra‚ while community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane’s activities included an interaction with about 150 recovering nyaope addicts in Sebokeng.