Thousands will be giving 67 minutes to charity to celebrate Nelson Mandela's birthday on Thursday. File photo: Reuters

Pretoria - Thousands will be giving 67 minutes on Thursday for Mandela Day, but Jonathan Gouveris will be giving 67 laps and is inviting other Pretoria runners to join him.

The 67 laps he intends running is the distance of a 42km marathon.

“On Thursday the 18th (Madiba Day) I’ll be running 67 times around the block (link to the route – activity/336322822). I’m not asking you to run the distance with me, but I am asking for you to join me in a few laps, maybe even 67 minutes of your day!” is his message to fellow runners.

The event will start outside the Erasmusrand Family Pick n Pay Supermarket at the Waterkloof Rand Shopping Centre, which Gouveris’s family owns, and will include the e-toll centre off Rigel Avenue.

Gouveris will start at the corner of Rigel and Buffelsdrift streets at 3pm.

“That’s the time I’m starting – you can start at any time from thereafter. I am hoping to do the run in five hours and finish at 8pm,” he said.

“It’s not a race but a day out in honour of the great man Nelson Mandela, so bring your husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, kids, baby strollers, friends and pets and join me for a good cause.”

The 67 minutes/laps will be in recognition of the 67 years Nelson Mandela sacrificed for the fight for peace in our country. Gouveris said while he was calling on the public to sponsor him at R10 a lap, he was asking runners for R67, to be paid on the day, to join him.

The money raised will go to the Thohoyandou Primary School in Saulsville whose principal approached LeadSA for help. The Pretoria News and Talk Radio 702 have taken up the school’s cause and are helping to draw attention to its plight.

The school needs chairs and desks, all types of sporting equipment, books, a fence around the playground, and for the ceiling in the library to be repaired.

Gouveris’s family have also donated the boxes to ensure all the 660 children at the school receive a treat on Thursday. The contents have been donated by Southern Sun and staff from the hotel and the Pretoria News will pack the boxes.

Swimming SA has put the wheels in motion to empower the youth of Thohoyandou Primary School by installing a Porta Pool at the school and its Learn to Swim trainers will teach the children safety skills in water and train an adult to become a swimming instructor.

Godfrey Monei, marketing manager for Swimming South Africa, has the necessary approval from the Department of Education for the project. However, to make the initiative a reality, they need to raise R50 000 for the installation of the pool. BestMed, which has worked closely with Swimming South Africa, has come forward with R20 000 towards the cost.

If you would like to make a difference, or can help towards the cash needed for the swimming pool project, call Elaine Ash at the Pretoria News at 012 300 2130 or go to or and follow the Nelson Mandela Day project link to register and tell them where you would like to assist.

Alternatively, if you wish to make a monetary donation, you can transfer the money to: LeadSA, FNB, Branch 250655, account number 62278074465, with the reference Thohoyandou.

As the day approaches more organisations, ministers and even the president are announcing their plans for Thursday.

President Jacob Zuma will hand over houses to the community of Danville.

The Danville project was a “Flagship Project” for the eradication of the Bethlehem informal settlement in Pretoria West, which was occupied by poor white families, spokesman Mac Maharaj said. Zuma visited the area twice, in 2008 and 2010.

The South African Social Security Agency visited the Hermanstad area regularly for various services, Maharaj said.

A mobile clinic was provided by the Tshwane Municipality and streets lights were installed.

The Freedom Front Plus’s Pretoria regional leader, Philip van Staden, said they were delighted with the president's step.

The Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Enver Surty, will mark the day at N’wamhinga Primary School in Atteridgeville with Esquire Technology.

Elsewhere in Pretoria, Madiba will be celebrated in art.

To celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela a group of South African designers set out to collect 95 exceptional posters from around the world, honouring Madiba’s lifelong contribution to humanity.

From more than 700 posters submitted by designers from about 70 countries, the best 95 were chosen and will be exhibited at the University of Pretoria as part of the Mandela Day celebrations.

Pretoria News

* Use the comments field below to tell us how you’ll be making a difference on Mandela Day. These comments will be moderated.