Madiba blanket drive breaks record
Pretoria - The 67 Blankets of Nelson Mandela Day movement celebrated 21 years of freedom with people from all around the country at the Union Buildings on Tuesday.
Thousands of people have been sewing, knitting and crocheting to let Mandela’s legacy live on, and a sea of blankets covered the lawns at the feet of the Nelson Mandela statue. Not only will hundreds of people be warmer this winter, but the Guinness World Record for the largest crocheted blanket was broken.
“It feels surreal, as if I am in a movie, and I need to be pinched to know that we really broke the world record. I am proud that people came together today to share this historic moment with us,” said Carolyn Steyn, founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day.
The previous record of 1 020.13 square meters was broken with a blanket measuring 3 133 square metres.
“Our hope and unity brought us together to break this record. I am ecstatic that our unity got us to achieve our common goal of breaking the record. This started out as a photoshoot, and when we saw that we were receiving many more blankets than expected, that is when we got the idea of trying to break the world record,” Steyn said.
Prisoners, schoolchildren, old women, young men and many more took up the challenge to knit or crochet for a greater purpose. Prisoners from the Zonderwater Correctional Centre crocheted and knitted over 300 blankets.
For many prisoners, taking part was not only fun, it also gave them hope for the future, knowing they were giving back to the communities they had wronged.
Nelson Mandela Foundation’s chief executive Sello Hatang said: “We are proud and honoured to be part of this initiative. The colours on the blankets represent the goodness of South Africa. Through this, we appeal to the public to make each day a Mandela day.”
In light of the xenophobic attacks, citizens were urged to do more than speak out on social media.
“More people should invest in their country and not depend on the government,” said Brand SA’s Chichi Maponya.
“We need role models, like Carolyn Steyn, who have taken matters into their own hands and contributed to building the country. This initiative symbolises knitting wounds of the past and coming together in a close-knit (community),” she said.