Pretoria - In the heart of Pretoria Central, a ray of sunshine breaks through the hustle and bustle of city life.
Siyanda Manda has made it his life’s mission to share love and comfort with people through hugs. His heartfelt gestures have touched the lives of many, offering a glimmer of hope to those going through tough times.
Manda, a 32-year-old happily married father of two who lives in Sunnypark, Sunnyside, was inspired to become the “hug-giver” after experiencing his fair share of personal struggles.
“After my dad passed away and my mom was unlawfully arrested, we lost everything. I found myself homeless, staying at my grandparents’ home and friends and relatives for a place to stay.
“Sometimes people just want a hug and to let them know that everything is going to be okay.
“I want to spread a message of hope, love, passion and positivity in the world full of negativity, drama, hatred and chaos.”
During his darkest moments, Manda said a friend offered him a warm and reassuring hug that provided him with a sense of comfort and support. This small act of kindness had a profound impact on Manda, sparking a desire to spread love and compassion to others who may be facing similar battles.
“In a world full of jealousy, violence, cruelty, hatred, envy, greed and all the negativity going on, one may ask themselves what is the solution to all this madness? The answer for me is pretty simple: it’s love. Genuine love, real love, true love that makes us perform an act of kindness because that is contagious.”
Armed with an abundance of empathy and a heart full of compassion, Manda began his mission to offer free hugs to strangers in Pretoria Central. Every day, he can be found in various spots throughout the city, ready to embrace anyone who might be in need of some emotional relief. Manda’s warm smile and open arms serve as a beacon of hope for those feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges.
The idea of giving free hugs to strangers might seem unconventional or even uncomfortable to some, but for Manda it’s a way of connecting with others on a deeper level.
Before offering a hug, he takes the time to engage in a brief conversation with the person, asking about their day and enquiring if they would like to share anything. This approach creates a sense of trust and mutual understanding, making the hugs more meaningful and comforting.
Manda’s mission extends beyond the simple act of giving hugs – it has become a movement of kindness and support in the heart of Pretoria. His actions have sparked conversations about mental health and the importance of emotional well-being.
Through social media, his story has reached a broader audience, inspiring others to practise acts of kindness and compassion in their communities.
His message has resonated with many, encouraging people to look out for one another and offer support to those who may be silently battling their own troubles.