Last minute Mandela Day ideas

In 2009 the United Nations voted to make former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday an international day of celebration. In order to celebrate his life, people from across the world are called to devote 67 minutes of their time helping someone in need. Moneybags journalist, Ashleigh Brown finds out what activities there are for you to partake in.

The Vital Foundation – one of South Africa’s first funding and information-sharing bodies for the prevention of woman and child abuse – says that the celebration of Mandela Day has become a global call to action for people to recognise their individual power to help change the world for the better.

“By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can take a step towards a global movement for good,” says the Vital Foundation.

“It’s up to each and every one of us, businesses and individuals alike, to join together in a concerted daily effort to help tackle this issue, which affects not only society but our economy as well,” says George Grieve, managing director of Vital Health Foods, founder of the Vital Foundation.

Take the time

Getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life we often forget to lend a helping hand. Even though we should try and help out wherever we can all year round, sometimes that is just not possible.

Yase Godlo, manager of Mandela Day and Outreach Programmes at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, says that South Africans also need to take up the challenge of increased and greater involvement.

“While many organisations and citizens commit to 67 minutes of service each year, and through this deliver an enormously valuable contribution, we need to be cognisant of the very real need that many volunteer organisations have for support and assistance throughout the year,” he says.

Things you can do

If you have not planned anything for this Mandela Day, why not stop by your local Red Cross, or soup kitchen to drop off some much needed food.

Animal shelters, and the SPCA are also always on the lookout for food and blankets, to make sure the animals stay warm and healthy.

Nationwide: Use your skills

“Mandela Day has massive potential to harness real skills, match them to real needs and create measurable social impact,” says Andy Hadfield, CEO of Forgood, an online platform that connects people with accredited causes.

Forgood is using the power of the internet to try and connect people to causes that they love this Mandela Day.

“Log onto Forgood, find a cause in your area that has listed a need and sign up to help them, alternatively, create an offer around a specific skill you have or something special you want to do and an interested cause will contact you. It’s so much more exciting than watching paint dry and it creates real measureable impact too,” says Hadfield.

Johannesburg: Give away your clothes

We all have those clothes that manage to pile up in our cupboard that we never seem to wear. With winter in full swing, and the temperature plummeting why not give your unwanted clothes to someone who needs them?

Steyn City Properties lifestyle resort is urging members from the local communities of Broadacres, Dainfern, Fourways and Lonehill to do just that. They would like members to donate to the needy in the neighbouring Diepsloot.

On Friday 17 July from 7am to 7pm and Saturday 18 July from 9am until 4pm, the staff and contractors of Steyn City Properties will be collecting items from the public at the Cedar Road Gatehouse, where  they aim to make the longest clothes line last seen in the neighbourhood, a minimum of 67 metres long.

Cape Town: Making soup and buy blankets

Few things are better than a warm bowl of soup on a cold day, a luxury that many South Africans do not get to enjoy. But, the President Hotel in Bantry Bay is hoping to change that.

If you spent your 67 minutes at the President Hotel, you can help the Red Cross by chopping vegetables to make soup for the hungry.

On Saturday, from 11:30 to 15:00 you can help out in the kitchen, and also learn the secrets of making gourmet bread.

But many South Africans need more than just a warm meal. Eden on the Bay has a host of activates this weekend dedicated to Mandela Day.

S.A.L.T. (Sharing Abundant Life Together) will be running Light Bag and blanket drive outside Pick n Pay on Saturday 18 July. Light Bags contain essential food items that feed a family of four for a week.

“You can do your 67 Minutes for the community by purchasing these essential items at Pick n Pay when you visit Eden on the Bay on Saturday 18 July. You can also bring blankets (new or in good condition) and drop them off at the S.A.L.T. stand on Saturday 18 July,” said Eden on the Bay.

Some selected restaurants in the area will also be having specials on for R67 in honour of the day. For a full list of the restaurants, and the activities, click here.

There are a whole host of activities happening for Mandela Day, but you do not have to be part of an organised cause to make a difference. If you see someone in need, lend a helping hand. A small act of kindness can go a long way.