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’We must feed the poor,’ says Mandela’s great grandson

Ray Hanning, left, his daughter and Mayibuye Mandela doing Christmas shopping. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Ray Hanning, left, his daughter and Mayibuye Mandela doing Christmas shopping. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Published Nov 28, 2021

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DURBAN – Nelson Mandela's great grandson Mayibuye “Melisizwe” Mandela aimed to reach out to indigent families in need of food, clothes and toys for children ahead of Christmas Day.

In an interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Mandela, 26, said he had travelled to KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend to meet with possible funders and urge them to bring joy to those who were not able to make ends meet and put food on the table for their children to enjoy Christmas like everyone else.

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“The Melisizwe Mandela Foundation is a non-governmental organisation whose aim is to raise awareness on many issues affecting South Africans. The foundation positions itself as a radical mouthpiece for the South African people.

“We buy groceries, food, clothes, and toys for the families we identify; we don’t just give them food parcels of our choice, we take them for shopping so that they can pick what the items they want for Christmas.

“In KwaZulu-Natal, we will be spending a Christmas with a family we are going to identify and get to know them better. We need to change people’s lives and we must help where we can.”

Remembering his grandfather, the late former president Nelson Mandela, he said that each year Madiba would invite children to his rural home in Qunu where they would be fed and provided with gifts.

He also said that after the foundation was launched, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane responded to his request for a donation and contributed money to ensure that many families received food.

“I will be writing to the Nelson Mandela Foundation to ask for their support, but it is important to remember that Nelson Mandela Foundation is not a family entity therefore people should not think that we have access to its funding because we are the Mandelas.

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“I grew up with toys around me, I had access to food and other things, so it pains me to see other children grow up without food, clothes, and toys. I will be writing to all political parties and request that they support our initiatives.

“I will go as far as writing to Julius Malema, Herman Mashaba, Johann Rupert, and many others because I believe that every influential person in this country has a role to play in fighting poverty. We need to stop talking about poverty and start fighting it.”

The young man said that with his team and the deputy chairperson and co-founder Zintle Ngayo, who is also the foundation’s spokesperson, were like ordinary South Africans and were not abusing their proximity with influential people to easily have access to state resources.

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“We have not received any funding from the state, part of this is because we know it is difficult to access government funding. So we are basically on our own and begging those who can to assist us in all our efforts.”

Mandela thanked the many other organisations that continued to throw their support behind his foundation. He said this was a sign of hope among those who were concerned about poverty.

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