July 18th, 2015 is the 7th annual International Nelson Mandela Day, a commemorative event conceived by the United Nations to honor the late, great statesman’s legacy in South Africa and beyond.
If you live in — or are headed to — South Africa on Saturday, there are numerous places that you can participate in Mandela Day activities. Many involve helping out with charitable causes for 67 minutes, a number that symbolizes the 67 years of uninterrupted service Mandela gave his nation. Others activities are purely educational or entertainment-related. The following is a round up of some of the best ways to spend your time this Mandela Day.
- The Greenpeace Western Cape Volunteers will be partnering with the City Of Cape Town for a Beach Clean-up Campaign on Mandela Day as part of its Environmental Awareness Programme. The aim of the beach clean-up is to encourage the community, learners and other stakeholders in the Sea Point beachfront promenade to take responsibility for their surroundings and environment. For more information contact Laswet at 072 991 0703 or visit the website.
- CleanC is sponsoring several beach runs in Cape Town throughout the weekend. For more information, visit the Clean C website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The first one takes place at night (starting at 6:30 p.m.) on July 17 at the Milnerton Lighthouse and another one is scheduled for July 18, which will take place at Small Bay Beach from 10 a.m. Participants can choose to do 3km, 7km or 13km. Entry to each run costs R100 for adults and R60 for kids (or R180 to participate in both runs as part of a staged challenge). All proceeds go towards a senior citizen beading project in Joe Slovo Park.
- Footsteps to Freedom is hosting a free 2-hour walking tour which starts at 10 a.m. at the lobby of Taj Hotel, Cape Town. It will serve as a trip back through history to retrace part of Nelson Mandela’s walk from prison to president. There are only 20 spots available, so those wanting to participate need to head to footstepstofreedom.co.za to sign up soon.
- We Are Durban is hosting a Mandela Day 67 Market event to help with fundraising. You can browse through a wide selection of fun and exciting goods, relax and enjoy live music and indulge in a selection of scrumptious foods, cakes and treats. Mikayla and Rebecca Morrison have a tea party with some of the items that will be on sale. The location is at 10 Bute Road, Windermere from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and community members are encouraged to do their goodwill by supporting this event. For more information, visit the We Are Durban website.
- Book lovers can head to the South African Museum in Cape Town, which will not only be featuring a Mandela-inspired exhibition titled Tata Madiba: Father of our Democracy, Father of our Nation, but will also be collecting old books to donate to an underprivileged community library. Books can be dropped off at the reception desk.
- Foodies in Cape Town definitely won’t feel left out on Mandela Day either. You can buy two pizzas and get the cheaper one for free at Doppio Zero (the establishment is also asking for volunteers to help distribute soup to those in need for their 67 minutes of service). Sushi lovers can get half-price sushi at Food Lover’s Market at St George’s Mall.
- And did we mention cupcakes? Love Cake Cafe in Cape Town will be spreading the love this Mandela day by handing out cupcakes to charities in our neighbouring areas. They invite all our cake lovers to participate by bringing cupcakes to Love Cake Cafe on Saturday and Sunday. They will then deliver them on Monday and create some happy hearts!
- If you’re heading down the coast, the Garden Route SPCA in Mossel Bay would like to invite everyone that is against animal cruelty to join in (rain or come shine) to be chained for 67 minutes. Everyone is more than welcome to join in. The donations will be put towards the buying of a “life-size puppet” of R8500.00 that will be used during these educational sessions. For more information call 044 693 0824 / 082 252 0351.
- The Cape Town Animal Rescue Organization is inviting the public (especially schools and organisations) to fill 67 black bags with old clothing, linen, curtains, pet accessories and other items for its Mandela Day project. Everything collected will be sold to raise funds for the Mobile Animal Sterilisation Unit. Bags can be dropped off at the organisation in Ottery anytime during the week (it is closed on weekends) for the whole month of July. For more information, call +27 (0) 21 396 5511.
- The Roodepoort Theatre and Alexander Harvest Time Foundation is staging a “What Can I Do to Make Everyday a Mandela Day” event on July 18. There fun festival will feature jumping castles, pony rides, face-painting and cup-cake decorating galore to entertain the young ones. For adults, there will be free testing for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure and HIV/AIDS in line with the City of Johannesburg’s Healthy Lifestyle Programme. For more information, go to www.roodepoorttheatre.com.
- Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo is participating in cleanup efforts allover the city. You can join in and do your part by coming out and lending a hand to keep the city beautiful. To find out more visit the Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo website, or contact email@example.com.
- Cape Town’s V&A waterfront is hosting a blanket donation. The public is invited to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to knit and crochet warm blankets for those in need at Den Anker restaurant during the week leading up to Mandela Day (July 13 to 17 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily). The eatery will also treat participants to complimentary soup while they’re stitching. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg and Canal Walk in Cape Town will host Stop Hunger Now on Friday July 17, and hopes to have thousands of volunteers. Companies and organizations are encouraged to donate money and form teams for the public volunteer drive. Share what you are doing at the hashtags #MillionMealDay and #MandelaDay.
Finally, if none of these pique your interest, create your own way of giving back on Mandela’s birthday by dedicating 67 minutes of your time to something that impacts positive change.