Today marks the celebration of the life of one of South Africa’s most esteemed freedom fighters and statesmen, Nelson Mandela, and organisations in South Africa are rallying to honour his legacy.
Citizens are encouraged to spend 67 minutes in service to others, symbolic of the number of years Mandela fought for social justice. These acts of kindness usually take place on his birthday on July 18, known as Mandela Day, but also throughout July.
Local organisations are doing their best to make a difference.
Chefs with Compassion (CWC) is a volunteer-based food rescue organisation that finds surplus food and turns it into meals for poor people.
The organisation aims to cook 67 000 litres of soup to feed people in honour of Madiba. While their target is set in litres, this translates to 268 000 meals.
One of the organisation’ founders, Caroline McCann, said with all the unrest, the need for altruism is stronger than ever.
“Thousands of men, women and children are relying on us for their only meal in a day,” she said.
In response to South Africa’s current lockdown regulations, the organisation had to relook at their approach to reaching its 67 000 litre goal.
The #67000litres challenge will allow participants to cook at home and choose a beneficiary in their area. Some of the participants include top chefs, hotels, home cooks, restaurants, corporate businesses and culinary schools.
CWC General Manager Marion Tanzer said that the non-profit organisation (NPO) wants to continue Mandela’s legacy of Ubuntu.
“Between the pandemic and all the unrest that we are experiencing, we all need the remember the spirit of Ubuntu,” she said.
This year, charity organisation Ladles of Love wants to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest line of food cans. The current Canadian-held record is 3.28km for 44 966 cans. Ladles of Love is targeting 90 000 cans that will measure 6.7 km long.
The physical event at the V&A Waterfront has been postponed due to our current lockdown level 4 restrictions. However, the public is still encouraged to donate money for food cans on the day at the Ladles of Love website.
Founder of Ladles of Love, Danny Diliberto, believes it is important that we commemorate this day.
“This was a man that cared for all people and the true definition of a leader and one that this world so desperately needs more of,” he said.
He added: “We should commemorate his birthday with many acts of kindness, and even more, we should make every day a Mandela Day.”
The money and cans of food raised through this initiative will go towards feeding people in need this winter.
DKMS Africa, formerly known as the Sunflower Fund, will assist eight children in government hospitals with blood stem cell transplants for Mandela Day.
The NGO has raised R2 million for the initiative that will save the lives of children aged eight and younger.
These patients will receive assistance in the form of “procurement of matched unrelated donor stem cells, with a national or international unrelated donor.”
The Community Chest NPO is hosting their annual blanket drive as part of their “Keep Cape Town Warm” campaign in honour of Mandela Day. In addition, they are launching a new feeding centre which forms part of their food strategy to help attain food security for the impoverished areas of Cape Town.
At present, Community Chest runs six feeding centres, and the seventh one will launch in honour of Nelson Mandela. The feeding centres are supplied with bulk products which allow them to offer hot meals in their respective areas.
PR and communications manager at the Community Chest, Desiré Goliath, said Mandela Day is a chance for South Africans to stand together.
“Forgiveness, kindness and generosity are the pillars of his legacy. We’ve overcome unrest in the past, and we will continue to do it again.”
The non-profit company, Oasis of Givers, will be treating the elderly in the Klerksdorp area to a warm cooked meal on Mandela Day. They received a donation of R2 000 that will be used to purchase the ingredients needed to cook the meal for elderly people.
Chief executive Gerrit van der Schyff said they would be cooking at home and then delivering the meals after.
“If it wasn’t for people like Nelson Mandela, our South Africa won’t be where it is today,” he said.
Van der Schyff added: “We are building a new South Africa, and everything we do on this day contributes to the future we create for our children.”