Cape Town - Nelson Mandela would have celebrated his 96th birthday on Friday. It’s the first year Nelson Mandela International Day will be celebrated without Madiba, who died in December.
Many families are volunteering their time to a worthy cause throughout the day. Others began earlier this week.
On Thursday, Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula and deputy minister Gert Oosthuizen accompanied Sport and Cultural Affairs MEC Nomafrench Mbombo to Manenberg.
They spent the day with schoolchildren, painting a crèche and handing over sport equipment to four schools before going to Parliament.
“Looking at the faces of these young children it hit me that we were in a community filled with violence, where many children had died,” said Mbombo. “I felt overwhelmed.
“Helping to paint the school crèche and being surrounded by the children reminded me of what Tata Madiba stood for, peace and unity. Sport is about teaching life skills and talent. We want these children to look beyond the violence and use their talents to become captains of sport teams”.
Meanwhile 600 volunteers from the city and its partners, Habitat for Humanity and Power Construction, borrowed shovels to assist in building 67 houses in five days at the city’s Pelican Park development.
They began their task on Monday and are expected to complete final touches on Friday.
Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for human settlements, said the housing development was designated as part of the World Design Capital 2014.
“This development is what we envisioned when we stressed that progress can only be made possible when we work together. It shows we can’t forever rely only on government funds.”
More than 600 houses had already been handed over at the Pelican Park development since the end of June.
“We are celebrating the culture of volunteerism. I thank all of the volunteers, Power Construction, Habitat for Humanity, the people of Cape Town, and our communities and beneficiaries for showing that we are becoming the inclusive and caring city that we are striving towards. I am truly excited about our future and it has been an honour to roll up my sleeves in recognition of Tata Madiba’s call to action,” said Mamkeli.
The family of Rene Rhode lives in Hillview informal settlement. She has been on the housing waiting list for 21 years and was ecstatic to discover that she would be a beneficiary.