Madiba’s legacy is not about grand gestures – Graça Machel

2014-07-07 10:50

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Former president Nelson Mandela’s wife Graça Machel has encouraged South Africans to play their part in making South Africa and the continent a better place.

“Honouring Madiba’s legacy isn’t only about making big gestures but it is also about trying to make small differences in the lives of people around you,” said Machel earlier today.

She was speaking at the 2014 Trek4Mandela send off hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Joburg.

Trek4Mandela is an initiative that seeks to raise funds to purchase sanitary pads for girls in underprivileged communities. Every year since 2012, a number of associates and partners of the project climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the initiative.

“This is such a touching initiative,” said Machel.

Caring4Girls founder Richard Mabaso was inspired to start the expedition after overhearing a “fearful conversation between his mother and his niece on menstrual cycles”.

“I thought to myself how many other girls are fearful about talking about their cycle and how many are unable to get the necessary sanitary products,” he said.

Mabaso then established the nonprofit initiative to address this need. He thought climbing Mount Kilimanjaro would be the best way to raise awareness the about the cause and raise funds to buy the sanitary pads.

“I called my friend Mr Sibusiso Vilakazi and I said to him: ‘My friend, I’ve never been to any mountain, but I want to go with you to Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012’.”

Vilakazi, who has conquered the mountain 18 times, and Mabaso pitched the idea to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and Trek4Mandela was born.

This year, eight trekkers will take on Africa’s highest free-standing mountain. Hip-hop artist ProVerb and radio personality Mpumi Mbethe will join six others making the big climb.

Since the start of the initiative, Caring4Girls has been able to help more than 40 000 girls and has collected more than 67 000 pads. Sanitary hygiene products manufacturer Li-lets has pledged R2 million in stock and has called on its competitors also to make a contribution.

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