As we start feeling the touch of winter’s hand, and political tremors leave a chill on the heart, it is warming to know that the “KnitWits for Madiba” are getting ready to spread love and comfort. On Sunday 23 April 2017 from 9am to 4pm, 67 Blankets will be hosting a family "Hook-Up" Day where KnitWits across the country will be spreading their blankets around the various statues of Nelson Mandela in a colourful reminder of Tata Madiba’s legacy. The blankets will then be handed over and distributed to those in need.
Founded 3 years ago, by Carolyn Steyn in response to Zelda la Grange’s challenge to knit 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day the NPO has grown from 67 blankets to 670 blankets, to a world record breaking 27 000 blankets all donated to those in need. In the process 67 Blankets has claimed the Guinness World Record for "Largest Crochet Blanket in the World" in 2015. India made a bid for the title and briefly took it out of South Africa’s hands, but then won it again in 2016 with a blanket measuring over 17 000 square meters.
Throughout the year people from all walks of life, including prisoners and school goers pour care and compassion into their knitting, stitching the country together one stitch at a time. 67 Blankets has grown into an international movement, with KnitWits in many countries donating blankets in the name of Madiba.
In partnership with the Department of Correctional Services, 67 Blankets started the "Knitting Broken Lives and our Nation Together" initiative that gives inmates an opportunity to give back to communities that that been affected by crime and poverty. Knitting and crocheting blankets have given thousands of inmates, both men and women, a sense of industry and purpose assisting them in their rehabilitation and providing skills development behind bars.
“67 Blankets has changed my life – and many lives. It has become my raison d'etre. What I have learned over the past three years is the importance of alliance, partnership, friendship and relationships embodying trust, respect, kindness and common purpose. None of what we have collectively achieved would have been remotely possible without these elements. And together we have achieved some great things,” says Steyn
“So make a blanket for someone less fortunate. Madiba did say "It is in your hands now." And we are listening to him with every stitch we make,” she adds.
Bring your families, your picnic baskets and your knitting and celebrate 67 Blankets remarkable achievement. Together we are binding our nation together through bright, colourful thread.
The Family Day Hook-up venues on 23 April 2017 are:
Croquet lawn in front of the Springbok Museum at the Waterfront 09h00 – 14h00
Nelson Mandela Square – Sandton City 09h00 – 15h00
Nelson Mandela Foundation – Houghton 09h00 – 14h00
The Daily Coffee Café (Cnr Mackenzie & 13th Street, Menlo Park, Pretoria) -Friday, 21 April 2017 at 14h00 - 16h00 (Please note date)
The Union Buildings 09h00 – 14h00
Shambala Game Reserve, Waterberg, Mandela House 09h00 – 11h30
Mandela Capture Site – Howick/Tweedie off-ramp (Make your way to the Truth Café) 09h00 – 13h00
Naval Hill 09h00 – 12h00