In honour of Nelson Mandela, 700 Knitwits from the 67 Blankets initiative crocheted simultaneously for 27 minutes at the Linder Auditorium at the Johannesburg University of the Witwatersrand, breaking the Guinness World Record. Photo: Supplied
Cape Town – More than 700 people have smashed a Guinness World Record, knitting simultaneously for 27 minutes at the Linder Auditorium at the Johannesburg University of the Witwatersrand in honour of Nelson Mandela.

At the clang of the cymbals, everyone began crocheting for the allotted time of 27 minutes - a minute for every year that Mandela was imprisoned.

The event was undertaken by 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela, in collaboration with the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (JIMF).

This was their fifth world record attempt and was in celebration of the organisation’s fifth birthday, as well as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthday.

Carolyn Steyn, the founder of the 67 Blankets initiative, said: “In the year following the centenary of Madiba’s birth, we are honoured to be continuing with our knitting revolution in his name.

“The initiative has exceeded our wildest expectations, galvanising communities and bringing joy, hope and comfort to thousands of people around the world,” said Steyn.

While the “KnitWits” crocheted up a storm, maestro Richard Cock conducted musicians in performing a selection of exquisite Mozart works to ensure the record attempt is music to all participants’ ears.

“Beautiful music for a beautiful cause, conducted by maestro Richard Cock. What more could we ask for as a fifth birthday present?”

Cock added: “The Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is extremely excited about teaming up with 67 Blankets for this world record attempt. JIMF loves getting involved in different things, and when we discovered the synergy between JIMF’s birthday, Mozart’s birthday and 67 Blankets’ birthday, we just couldn’t resist.”

Yase Godlo, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Mandela Day and outreach manager, said: “The 67 Blankets initiative continues to touch so many lives through the sterling work it does to propagate Madiba’s legacy and live his values of compassion and empathy.

“As they enter their fifth year, we wish the ‘KnitWits’ well as they again set out to make a concrete difference, stitch by stitch.”