On 23 June 2014, lovingly crafted blankets were delivered to sick children at the Tygerberg Hospital paediatric oncology unit, by the Cape Town movement of a cause that has hit South Africa by storm.
The cause is 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day – an initiative that aims to collect thousands of handmade blankets, which are then distributed to those in need throughout South Africa, in honour of the late beloved former president Nelson Mandela.
Unprecedented cold weather
“Originally all the blankets were to be donated on Mandela Day on 18 July, but due to the unprecedented cold weather it was decided to start distributing them earlier,” said Carolyn Steyn, founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, thanked the "67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day" for their initiative for this great cause. "I know that this gesture will touch the hearts of our little patients in the oncology ward. And I am sure that this is the compassion and outreach that our former president had in mind when he started his charities for children. Thank you for considering the needs of small children in great suffering.
Read more: Paediatric palliative care for Western Cape
“What makes this special is that the knitters gave their time and made something with their hands. They gave something of themselves. This cannot be bought with money. And I think this is what Madiba intended with 67 minutes of your time.”
Cape Town Ambassador Johan Ferreira said children have played a large role in making blankets for the movement in the Cape Town area. “Children are very close to the hearts of all the Knitwits, (as the knitters and crocheters are affectionately called) and many of the blankets donated today were made by primary school children from Wellington Preparatory School, as well as students from the Aleit Academy in Stellenbosch. We wanted to give the sick children at the oncology unit some of the blankets that were so lovingly made by these youngsters.”
In Cape Town blanket donations have already been made to people made homeless by evictions, fires or floods, as well as to the Orion Home in Atlantis. “Hundreds more blankets will be donated across
Cape Town and beyond by 18 July, as we have been overwhelmed by individuals, communities and schools who have come together teaching each other to knit, crochet and loom blankets for this wonderful cause,” added Ferreira
Still time to join
67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day started as a challenge but has quickly grown into what some are calling a movement. It’s captured the attention of thousands of South Africans as well as corporates and hundreds of people in the UK, Australia, New Zealand. Canada, Germany, Cyprus, London, the US and India.
There is still time to join the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day movement. The only requirement is that the single bed sized blanket or baby blanket has to be handmade – no store bought blankets will be accepted. Contact Cape Town Ambassador Johan Ferreira at 061 6746427 for further details and drop off points. Blankets to be ready for collection by 11 July 2014.
Twitter – @67blankets
Facebook – 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day
Preparing a child for healthcare experiences
SA celebrates its greatest man
10 ways to keep warm this winter