Woman’s special gift of bottle caps for Madiba

2011-07-13 00:00

HER love and respect for former president Nelson Mandela persuaded an Umtentweni woman to give him a gift for his 93rd birthday next Monday.

Sheneen Keen (34) has created a picture of Madiba using thousands of bottle caps that she collected from her travels around the world.

Her friend, Eunice Malunga, helped her with the creation.

The artwork, which took 6 000 bottle caps and 10 days to create, will be photographed, made into a poster and posted to Mandela.

Keen, who works as a casino host for a shipping company, said the idea of creating the piece first came to her nearly 13 years ago.

“I first collected two big bags of bottle caps in Tahiti. It was part of my memories and I wanted to take it home with me,” she says.

“I thought it would be great to share my travels with my hero and the world’s most loved man — Madiba.”

She said she looks up to Mandela as he is a man who possesses the finest qualities.

“He has helped many people in numerous ways. He fought for a better South Africa for us all.”

Keen says her birthday message to Madiba is that she cares and loves him and remembers every day the struggles he had encountered in fighting for a free and democratic South Africa.

“The gift is a token of my appreciation.

“I thought of him every time I put a cap into its place,” she added.

Keen said friends and family thought she was insane for collecting bottle caps to present to the former president of the country.

But Keen was determined and had her heart and mind set on creating her special gift.

She said she then started to ask barmen on the ships to collect bottle caps for her.

“Every night I’d go to all the bars on whichever ship I was on and collect my caps.

“I got strange looks at first, but they soon turned to smiles when I told everyone about my plans,” she says.

AKeen said that wherever she travelled in the world she was able to connect with people by just mentioning the name Mandela.

“I have a stack of e-mail addresses from people waiting to see the end product.

“They too have helped with the making of this picture,” she said.

Keen collected bottle caps from India, the Philippines, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, the United States, Columbia, Hawaii, Alaska, Australia, Italy, Germany, Bahamas, England and Ireland.

“I have lost count of how many times I was stopped at customs, but it was all worth it,” she said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.