Inmates get crafty for Mandela

2014-12-04 21:27
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Johannesburg - Ahead of the first anniversary of former president Nelson Mandela's death, inmates at Zonderwater prison have been making brightly coloured blankets to commemorate his death.

The prisoners at the Zonderwater medium security facility outside Pretoria have sewn the blankets as part of a charity project for poor communities.

"A lot of them want to make a difference. They want to do something for Nelson Mandela," said Carolyn Steyn, founder of a charity called 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day.

Mandela died on 5 December last year at the age of 95 after a long illness.

Many are preparing to pay tribute to Mandela on Friday, a year after his death.

The blanket campaign began earlier this year when Steyn met Mandela's former long-time assistant, Zelda le Grange, and the couple discussed ways to help the disadvantaged.

A Facebook post by Steyn turned into a full-time campaign that now has a presence in the United States, India, Australia and other nations.

The project extended to the prison yard when Steyn secured a meeting with inmates and a warden. The biggest obstacle was ensuring that crochet hooks would not be used as weapons and the prison has since devised a system to keep track of crocheting prisoners.

Steyn taught prisoners in orange jumpsuits how to make a simple chain of stitches. Fast learners were soon teaching other inmates.

Steyn says prison wardens have noticed that the crocheting prisoners have become more placid. She hopes that one day they'll make blankets for their families, and perhaps even their victims.

Here are the inmates at work:

(Themba Hadebe: AP)

(Themba Hadebe: AP)

(Themba Hadebe: AP)

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  pretoria  |  prisons

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