Charities plan a full week of activities for Madiba’s day

2014-07-15 00:00

DURBAN’S leading charities — and even some of its school kids on holiday — will mark the first Mandela Day after the former president’s passing with giving activities every day this week.

Yesterday, Danielle Melville, outreach director at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, told The Witness that thousands who were unable to attend Madiba’s funeral in December were determined to honour his legacy with “a very special effort”, both on July 18 and in the days before.

“There has been an incredible response this year. There is a lot of nostalgia in this first year of our great statesman’s passing,” she said. “We will feel Madiba all around us [this] week — but I think people also understand its now up to us to make a difference, and there is a big emphasis on sustainable projects.”

Many Durban organisations said they would break with the traditional 67 minutes of charity to dedicate entire days for everything from distributing food parcels to collecting blood donations and counselling the disabled elderly.

Gift of the Givers said due to the cold weather they would be using their time to give the homeless blankets and meals around the CBD, among other things.

“With the support from more communities and businesses we will definitely be making this Mandela Month bigger and louder,” said projects manager Salim Sayed.

The Robin Hood Foundation in Westville said at least 100 volunteers from suburbs like Umhlanga, Westville and Hillcrest had already signed up to “practise random acts of kindness” every day in a campaign they’re calling “the Mandela Week of Remembrance”.

Hillcrest High School pupil Tyleene Smith (16) said she had missed Mandela Day last year, but she will be going out every day this week, distributing parcels and spending time with people at crèches and old age homes.

“Many will be emotional since it has only been a few months since his passing,” she said. “I am on holiday and I couldn’t think of a better way to take up my time.”

Meanwhile elsewhere, adventurers Richard Mabaso and Sibusiso Vilane — who has summitted Mt Everest — plan to lead Trek4Mandela group to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on July 18, after a week of promoting hygiene and education for girls.

• Nationally, Stop Hunger SA will try to enlist 4 000 volunteers to package 670 000 meals for pre-school children.

• And in the Western Cape, the Habitat for Humanity NGO also plans to “ruin” the 67-number yardstick by building more than 67 houses in a single week.

Robin Hood Foundation chairperson Cindy Norcott said: “It is great to honour his legacy by not just encouraging 67 minutes on the 18th July, but to have an entire week dedicated to random acts of kindness and thereby encourage the public to get involved however and wherever they can.”

She urged Durbanites to “look into their hearts and do something generous, whether it is donating time, donating skill, donating products or donating funds”.

“It’s a chance for everyone from all walks of life to give back as we all want to, but we all have different ways,” said Norcott.

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