Cape Town offers a host of Mandela Day activities

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Capetonians are spoilt for choice when trying to find ways to invest 67 minutes in a good cause on Nelson Mandela International Day.

In honour of the deceased former president’s legacy of self-sacrifice one could help clean up a hospital, build a kennel or knit a blanket.

The Johannesburg-based Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement ahead of July 18 – the icon’s birthdate – this was “more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy”.

Its spokeswoman Danielle Melville said: “It is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better. Let’s emulate the great public servant we all loved and lead by example.”

Twitter would likely be trending with #MandelaDay and #Time2Serve as these are the two hashtags the foundation is encouraging users of the micro-messaging website to use.

Mandela’s grandson and parliamentarian Nkosi Mandela issued a statement this week, outlining plans for Mvezo. The latter is a small Eastern Cape village where Mandela was born.

Nkosi Mandela is the village chief and said they would unveil a statue of his grandfather this week. Another statue would be unveiled of Prince Mandela, “the youngest son of King Ngubengcuka of the Thembu nation, born in the IXhiba”.

“He is the father to Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Mandela who is the father to Nelson Mandela,” read the statement.

The Mvezo Museum would also open and the film Long Walk to Freedom, based on Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, would be screened in the village.

The chief said: “This year will be the first (Mandela Day) after my grandfather’s passing, making it a very special one for our family and our country… Madiba is watching all of us from the heavens. Let us make him proud.”

The foundation said Mandela Day was launched on July 18, 2009, “via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly”.

“It was inspired by a call Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take over the baton of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said ‘it is in your hands now’.”

Weekend Argus has compiled a list of activities that require volunteers or support in various ways on Mandela Day.

Clean a river
Environmental non-profit Project 90 by 2030 invites volunteers to help clean a section of the Liesbeek River in the southern suburbs on July 17 from 1pm.
“Project 90 by 2030 has set for itself the achievement of a low-carbon generation. Its vision is of a world that sustains humanity, where people are valued and earth systems are preserved,” it says.
Meet outside the entrance to the River Club in Observatory. Contact Martin on 079-500-1503 or 021-421-0430. Visit http://www.90× for more info.

Help sterilise a dog
Deep South Animal Educare is hosting a Sterilisation Day in Valhalla Park on July 18. A few vets need help with distributing blankets and food to dogs that are taken home after sterilisation. Volunteers can also assist in filling out forms regarding the sterilisation and putting collars on dogs.
Contact Jaque on 071-351-9914 or via

Build a kennel
Mdzananda Animal Clinic on Govan Mbeki Road in Khayelitsha invites volunteers to help build kennels on July 18 and 19. It serves up to 1,000 animals a month, which it needs to create housing for.
Volunteers would “reconstruct wooden pallets into dog kennels. For those who prefer something less straining there will be cage and facility painting, planting, gift card packaging and charity shop organising”.
Volunteers are requested to bring along a hammer, paintbrushes, any extra wood, paint or nails.
Contact or call 082-357-7613 and 021-433-1942. For more info visit

Clean a hospital
Odyssey Fashion Project invites volunteers to join them for two hours at the Sarah Fox Children’s Hospital in Athlone on July 18.
It says: “Some of our models will be assisting the hospital with cleaning around the facility and spending some quality time with the young patients. We are collecting non-perishable food items, vegetables, baby and toddler clothes, blankets, nappies, toys and cleaning detergents.” Contact Zaakir Jardine on 076-718-2692.

Knit a blanket
A knit-a-thon is planned at the Mandela Rhodes Hotel on St George’s Mall on July 18 from 11am until 4pm.
“The hotel has joined forces with Bush Radio and Fair Cape Dairies to support the Little Fighters Cancer Trust and is inviting everyone to either knit or crochet a square, help sew the squares together, donate some fabric or drop off blankets to assist those in need. The squares will then be sewn into blankets or quilts and delivered to the trust.”
“The Little Fighters Cancer Trust was set up to relieve some of the heartache and difficulties faced by families affected by childhood cancer.”
Volunteers are requested to “bring your needles and knit or crochet a 15x15cm square or bring fabric cut to the same size”.
Donations of blankets, activity books and crayons also welcome. Contact or call 021-556-8200.

Make some art
The V&A Waterfront, Artjamming and Lalela Project invite children and adults to “create their own Mandela-inspired works of art, at a cost of R67 which will in turn be used to brighten the lives of less fortunate children at Somerset Hospital”.
On July 18, simply go to the Artjamming studios on the mezzanine level in the Breakwater Point shopping mall between 9am and 4pm. Bookings can also be made via emailing

Read with Desmond Tutu
Get to the V&A Waterfront’s Clock Tower area on July 18 from 10am where Archbishop Desmond Tutu will start a reading relay for children at a specially marked container.
Buskers, balloon sculpting, face painting and other activities will also take place.
“Visitors are asked to visit the container to donate blankets, books and toys of a development and educational nature for youngsters from birth to six years of age. These will be handed out to underprivileged children throughout Cape Town.”
“The container will be open each day from 9am to 5pm until 18 July.”

Donate some books
Westridge High School in Mitchell’s Plain is continuing its appeal for books for its library. This project is run in conjunction with The Book Lounge on Roeland Street in central Cape Town. The school has 1,100 pupils but no library.
The Book Lounge asks “all our friends and customers if they would consider contributing. The books have been carefully selected and will be available in-store to buy for the school, or just mail us with an amount you would like to contribute to the appeal, and we will select from the book list for you.”
Send an e-mail to for more info.

Beautify a school
Non-profit Symphonia will be “painting, cleaning, clearing, fixing and gardening” at Kannemeyer Primary School in Grassy Park.
“We will need people, equipment and some consumables for the day (paint, paint remover, cleaning materials). We also need roll-on grass and indoor and outdoor plants and hands to help. If you know of an electrician, plumber or carpenter who may be able to help us plan the project, please show them this note.”
Contact Claudia via if able to assist.

Help keep theatre alive
The independent struggling Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory is hosting a fundraiser on July 18 from 6:30pm until late. The evening’s performance will be The Things You Left Behind. An Afrofunk party follow “to dance the night away”. Tickets are R150 at the door.
The theatre is located inside the Methodist Church Hall, cnr Milton Road and Wesley Street, Observatory. Contact Caroline on 021-447-3683 or e-mail For more info go to

Nominate a friend for a bus trip
City Sightseeing, the company that runs the iconic red double decker buses, is giving away are 67 sets of one-day tickets, each consisting of two adult tickets and two children’s tickets.
Locals can “nominate someone they feel is deserving of an amazing day out”.
“Go to the link to enter the competition and fill in the entry by emailing through the name of the person you nominate and why you feel they should win.”
Nominations close at 6pm on July 18.


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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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