Get involved this Mandela Day

On Mandela Day, contribute 67 minutes of your time towards the global movement for good

On Mandela Day (18 July 2013), people around the world are encouraged to spend at least 67 minutes doing something positive for their communities in honour of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela spent fighting for social justice and a free, democratic South Africa.

The unofficial philanthropic day was inspired by Mandela’s speech on 27 June 2008 (his 90th birthday celebration) in London’s Hyde Park. In his address, Madiba called on the leaders of future generations to help change the world for the better: “It is in your hands now,” he urged.

Celebrated each year on the great former president’s birthday, Nelson Mandela International Day aims to inspire a ripple of good deeds throughout the world, and looks to encourage individuals, communities, governments and non-profit organisations to take one small step towards the larger leap of making a positive imprint.

Here in Cape Town, you can dip your toe into the metaphorical lake and cause a ripple of your own with our list of ways to make a difference.

How to get involved on Mandela Day 2013

Paint a pre-school. The folks at the Centre for Early Childhood Development and See-Saw-Do will identify pre-schools in need of a makeover, and, once a theme is decided together with the principal, the organisations will prep and prime the walls for volunteers to come and paint on Thursday, 18 July 2013. Contact Lauren van Niekerk on +27 (0)21 683 2420 or email cecd@iafrica.com to find out how you can get involved in providing a fun, beautiful learning environment for young children in the Western Cape.

Participate in one of the Boundless Heart Foundation Projects. The Boundless Heart Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to support the homeless, abused and aged in Cape Town, has organised a few events that volunteers can get involved in for Mandela Day 2013. Email info@theboundlessheart.org to find out how to get involved.

  • They have partnered with the City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements Unit to facilitate home building using the art of stone masonry in Ocean View from 9am to 3pm.
  • Together with the TB/HIV Care Association, the Boundless Heart Foundation has organised TB and HIV screening at the Living Hope Centre in Kommetjie Road, and they will be handing out hygiene packs and cupcakes at the Brooklyn Chest Hospital in Cape Town.
  • On Saturday, 20 July 2013, the foundation will pay a visit to the GH Starck Centre for the aged in Hanover Park and provide tea, coffee and snacks for the 80 elderly people who stay there from 2pm. One of the residents, Mrs Adonis, shares a birthday with Madiba.

Partner with the Animal Rescue Organisation. On Mandela Day the Animal Rescue Organisation will be running a One Health project that looks to better animal healthcare, human healthcare and environmental sustainability. On the day, community members are invited to clean up the area in the Southern Suburbs where the organisation is based; for every bag of litter filled, participants get a cup of soup and a roll. What’s more, a mobile clinic service will be set up by in the car park of the Animal Rescue Organisation, and pet owners can  bring their animals to be dewormed, vaccinated or treated by veterinarians.  Call +27 (0)21 396 5511 or visit Animalrescue.org.za for more information. 

Volunteer with the South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA). You don’t have to be a riding expert to help out this NPO, which provides free horse riding lessons for about 200 people living with disabilities. The programme is entirely dependent on volunteers and fundraising, and each rider may need up to three volunteers to assist during one of the free weekly classes. Apply at Sarda.co.za.  Otherwise, you can also help at the car boot sale, which takes place every third Saturday of the month on Brommersvlei Road, Constantia, either by collecting goods, selling, or simply shopping for a good cause. The next car boot sale takes place on Saturday, 20 July 2013, and you can contact the SARDA office at +27 (0)21 794 4393 for details on how to get involved. 

Charity begins at home. Literally; take a look around, declutter your house and donate the unwanted items to a charity of your choice. You’ll not only be doing something good for others, but for yourself as well.

  • If you’re without a car, or if you can’t make it to one of the many places in Cape Town to drop off old clothes, call “It’s Your Turn” (Tel: +27 (0) 83 577 1123), and they’ll come directly to your door to pick up your priceless donation. The organisation focuses on collecting and redistributing old matric dance dresses –  you felt like a princess in it, now help shape someone else’s storybook day.

Donate your time and talent. You don’t need to be Rockefeller to donate something valuable. Your time and talent can even rival the purchasing power of cold, hard cash. So, either volunteer to help with the day-to-day tasks undertaken by local charities, or offer a specialised service based on your own unique skill set: cook someone a delicious meal, design a pamphlet or write a press release that could help a start-up business, or give a community member a hand in repairing something broken. Baffled about where to start?

Save the world, one sandwich at a time. Buy a loaf of bread, a chunk of cheese, and a few tomatoes, then make a couple of sandwiches and hand them out to those in need on your way to work. You could make this venture even simpler: buy a big bag of whichever fruit is in season (it’s normally cheaper, and more delicious), and do the same. Rather give food than money to those in need; though, if you would like to donate money, there are plenty of Cape Town NGOs adept at allocating funds to the proper channels.

Light up an ill child’s life. Be a friend to a sick little one, and team up with the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (Tel: +27 (0)21 658 5243), the voluntary support group of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch. With the help of toy trolleys, educational games and other fun goodies, spend 67 minutes giving love and comfort to some of the children who need it most.

Buy the Big Issue. Just do it; don’t pretend you have a copy stowed away somewhere in your secret garden when a vendor comes past. Forking out the cash is a small thing, but it’ll make a big difference; as the proverbial saying goes, “the change is in your pocket”. Or, for that matter, spare R2 for the folks selling the ‘Funny Money’ pamphlets – you may even get a chuckle out of it.

Neighbourly love. Live next door to a single parent? See if you can babysit for an evening. Otherwise, visit a lonely elderly pensioner for a cup of tea, and while you’re there, change blown light bulbs, or give them a hand with another household chore that needs attention. The trick here is to keep your eyes open, and to notice the people around you.

Become a bookworm. Burrow deep into the hearts of those at a retirement home or a hospice by reading to them, or help a struggling learner develop literacy skills in partnership with the Help2Read programme (Tel:  +27 (0)21 685 8085). This initiative places volunteers at allocated schools after a free one-day training session.  On a similar note, donate your old, unwanted books to impoverished school libraries or to Equal Education’s book depot on Roeland Street, The Bookery (Tel: +27 (0) 21 461 4189). The Bookery is also always looking for volunteers to help cover, shelve and categorise books.

The gift of life. Donate blood at your local hospital, and you’ll feel dizzy with the knowledge that you’ve potentially saved someone’s life; a single donation could aid up to three people in need and only takes about 30 minutes. To find a blood drive in your area on Mandela Day, visit the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (Tel: +27 (0)21 507 6300). Alternatively, there are currently thousands of South African citizens waiting for life-saving organ donations, so take the time to register with the Organ Donor Foundation (Tel: +27 (0)800 22 66 11).

Say thank you. Make someone else’s day by simply saying ‘thank you’. It can be as easy as taking a security guard a cup of coffee, or helping your kids draw a thank you card for their teacher or librarian. Similarly, random acts of kindness never go unnoticed: give way to another car in traffic, offer your seat to someone when travelling on public transport, encourage a colleague at work – be kind in any way you can. These gestures may seem small, but the ripple has to start somewhere.

Volunteer at an animal shelter. Our furry and feathered friends need a helping hand too. Whether you’re walking a dog, cleaning out cages, or brainstorming a fundraising campaign, your time and energy will go highly appreciated.

  • For the love of penguins call the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) to sign up for their volunteer programme: (Tel: +27 (0)21 557 6155).
  • The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is the oldest animal welfare agency in the country; call them to see how you can help: (Tel: +27 (0)21 700 4140).
  • Adopt a rhino by making monthly donations, and help to keep this beautiful creature from becoming extinct.
  • TEARS, a pro-life, non-profit organisation in Sunnydale that aims to rescue, rehabilitate, reunite and re-home lost, abandoned, abused and neglected dogs and cats, relies solely on the generosity of the public to keep afloat. Contact them to see how you can be of service: (Tel: +27 (0) 785 4482).

Minimise your negative impact on the environment. Start by spending your 67 minutes implementing a recycling system for your rubbish: separate your food waste from your solid waste, create a container for the recyclable items, and consider making a worm farm to compost your biodegradable left-overs. Look into installing solar panels so your geyser can run on renewable energy, and buy a geyser blanket to reduce the amount of power needed to heat the water. Find ways to limit the amount of water you use, such as installing eco-friendly taps and shower heads that minimise flow. Interested in sowing more serious seeds?

  • Plant a tree with Greenpop. This Cape Town-born social enterprise is devoted to raising environmental awareness, planting in under-greened communities and combating climate change. You can donate a tree (R100), or donate your time: every Wednesday they call for volunteers to help plant at schools, crèches, orphanages or similar institutions. Contact info@greenpop.org.Greenpop will be planting 67 trees with Personal Trust International (Pty) Ltd for Mandela Day. 
  • Green up your next event with My Green Love Affair: This event design and planning team will organise your next major shindig and minimise your carbon footprint while doing so with attention to creative detail using organic and eco-friendly products as well as local suppliers and vendors. Plus, a small percentage of every event goes to a foundation that helps talented underprivileged people. Contact them by phone at +27 (0)76 112 3742 or email info@mygreenloveaffair.com
  • Recycle: A large portion of household and office waste can be recycled; it’s just a matter of knowing what and how. Take a look at this extensive guide on recycling in Cape Town and start doing your part for the environment. 

Go local. Instead of employing a commercial company, support people in your community by hiring them to do jobs in your home or for your business. Additionally, consider buying foodstuffs or clothing tied to non-profit partnerships:

  • Khayelitsha Cookies: Devoted to making the best biscuits in South Africa, Khayelitsha Cookies is just as committed to their responsible, equal-opportunity hiring policy. The company only employs previously unemployed women from Khayelitsha, and then endows them with an invaluable, long-lasting skill set. The cookies can be found in the biscuit aisles of Pick n Pay and Spar grocery stores in the Western Cape.
  • Earthchild Clothing: The original donors responsible for financing the Earthchild Project, a non-profit organisation focused on the holistic development of children, teachers, schools and communities, this clothing line still gives a portion of their proceeds to this innovative initiative.
  • Cape Craft and Design Institute: This not-for-profit company is a joint initiative of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology which supports craft producers, many of whom are poor people looking to enter the mainstream economy, and helps connect all involved in the product-to-market chain. Look out for CCDI handmade crafts at exhibitions, collective shops and festivals.   

Spend time identifying fair trade products. Support efforts to promote equality and sustainability in the farming sector (for both the environment and the people) by buying products with the Fairtrade Certification Mark. South Africa is the largest producer of fair trade wine in the world, and with every bottle purchased, 70c goes back to farm workers in Fairtrade Development Premium. You can also buy fair trade tea, coffee (Fairtrade Coffee Week starts on Monday, 22 July 2013), chocolate and other food products. Go to Fairtradelabel.org.za to find retailers in Cape Town.

Help your community in crisis and disaster situations. Cape Town can be unpredictable when it comes to natural events like storms and fires, which is why it’s a good idea to have as many hands on deck as possible when these acts occur.  The city’s Disaster Management volunteers have helped during infernos on Table Mountain, flooding in informal settlements and oil spills along the coastline, and anyone can join the regular meetings for training and information sessions. Call +27 (0)21 794 2493 (ext 228 or 221) to find out how you can get involved.

Volunteer at Oranjezicht City Farm. You can help this urban agriculture initiative, which aims to provide hands-on community gardening education in order to create access to fresh organic vegetables, in a number of different ways: work directly in the garden farming and operations; share your knowledge with youth and adults by giving talks and demonstrations; update the web site, newsletter and articles or take photographs for the communications division; or provide administrative services, which involve volunteer coordination, legal, fundraising, accounting and auditing. The garden is situated next to the corner of Sidmouth Avenue and Upper Orange Street in Oranjezicht, and urban farming takes place on Saturday mornings from 7am onwards. Go to Ozcf.co.za for more information or contact Sheryl at +27 (0)83 628 3426 or Kurt at +27 (0)83 508 1066.

Donate a blanket. Imagine spending just one Cape Town winter night without housing or heating and you’ll understand just how much a single blanket will mean to people living in Masiphumelele, a township between Noordhoek and Kommetjie, and Red Hill, an informal settlement near Simon’s Town. Cape Town Tourism and Cape Point Partnership are asking Capetonians to drop off new or pre-loved blankets at any of Cape Town Tourism’s nine visitor information centres until Tuesday, 16 July 2013, and these will be distributed to the two communities on Mandela Day. Plus, Cape Point Partnership will issue one complimentary ticket on the Flying Dutchman Funicular for every blanket donated. Go to Capetown.travel to find a drop-off point near you.

Dine responsibly. StreetSmart SA, the organisation dedicated to helping street children rebuild their lives, has rallied participating restaurants in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Somerset West and Paarl to raise funds for and heighten awareness of their cause. On Mandela Day, contact them (Tel: +27 (0) 21 418 0621) to find out at which eateries you can make your meal more meaningful. Five rand from every bill (or you can choose to give more) is donated to the organisation.StreetSmart restaurants include the Sunset Deck and Restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel, Dornier Bodega Restaurant and Tobago’s Restaurant at the Radisson Blue Hotel.  For a full list of where you can eat out for a good cause visit Streetsmartsa.org.za. 

Help Out at Operation Smile. Operation Smile, which provides free surgeries to children and adults born with cleft lips and palates, opens up its offices in Woodstock on 18 July 2013 to volunteers interested in spending their 67 minutes helping out the organisation. Choose how you want to help and a time slot (available at Scenicsouth.co.za), then email naadhira.khan@operationsmile.org  or call +27 (0)21 447 3608 to book a space. The first session starts at 11am.

  • Sewing: Those who can sew can help stitch together surgical gowns for developing hospitals, which often don’t have enough child-sized gowns, or teach others to sew as well. Smile bags (post-surgery goodie bags for patients) are also needed, and patterns for these are available at the Operation Smile SA offices.
  • Knitting:  Bring a couple of friends and sit together while you knit a couple of rows to make different coloured blocks. These will be sewn together to make warm, comforting blankets or a soft toy for young children coming out of surgery.
  • Packing smile bags: Help put together smile bags for different age groups of children who have just received their life transforming surgery. The bags of goodies cheer up the little ones, and, for some, this is the first gift they have ever received.
  • Tidying the warehouse: Operation Smile SA needs help counting stock, unpacking boxes and stocking shelves at their new warehouse facility. Some muscle or counting skills will help organise the operation’s headquarters.
  • Learn Basic Life Support: This two-hour course teaches participants how to perform the initial steps of CPR, airway manoeuvres and rescue breathing techniques, as well as how to manage choking in conscious and unconscious children and adults.                         

Ubuntu with the Athlone School for the Blind. The Athlone School for the Blind is calling on Capetonians to help out in any way they can to improve the quality of life for the 450 blind and visually impaired learners that attend the school. On Mandela Day, the doors will be open from 8am for corporations and the general public to help paint classrooms, plant a vegetable garden or donate a range of items, like books, toys, blankets, toiletries, clothing and furniture for the Early Childhood Development classrooms and students that live in the hostel. The Athlone School is particularly looking for a donation of treats (chips, sweets, or cool drinks etc) for the learners, as they can rarely afford such luxuries, and is also hoping to get corporate sponsors to display banners or logos in the local newspaper where the Ubuntu events will be covered. Contact Vera at +27 (0)73 810 3454 or email vera@asftb.org.za to get more information on how you can help out. 

Drop into the Douglas Murray Home. Donate your time or some much needed goods to the Douglas Murray Home, which is located in the poorer suburb of Retreat in the Cape Flats and provides care for 80 elderly and frail men and women.  People can donate dry and perishable goods, personal products or money, and they can also spend some time with the residents. The folks at the home could also use some assistance with grooming and cleaning the residents, meal preparation and maintenance around the home and in the garden. Volunteers can book a specific time when they want to visit the home; keep in mind that they are already fully booked for the 18th, but that people can organise a time for Monday, 15 July, Tuesday, 16 July and Saturday, 20 July 2013. Call the Douglas Murray Home on +27 (0)21 712 2146 or email info@douglasmurray.co.za to find out how you can help for the month of July as well as for the rest of the year.

Spend 67 Minutes at the Amy Biehl Foundation. Visit any one of the foundation’s five after-school centres in Nyanga, Gugulethu, Manenberg, Philippi or Crossroads on Mandela Day and read to the children or provide reading material in English for kids between 5 and 10 years old. The Amy Biehl Foundation, which is an NGO that empowers youth in vulnerable communities with extra education and arts programmes, is also looking for help collecting material for an art and craft project to make a “Madiba our HERO” card; the organization is also calling for volunteers to donate 1 500 packed lunches that will be handed out on the day. If you would like to help out or know someone who can, contact the Amy Biehl Foundation at +27 (0)21 462 5052 or email info@amybiehl.co.za.

Put together a stationary kit for the Chaeli Campaign.  Help develop the mind and body of a child with a disability by collecting stationary for Early Childhood Development kits, which are given to educators, children and parents after they’ve attended workshops to prepare these young kids for further schooling. On Mandela Day, the organisation will be set up on the first floor at the Blue Route Mall (just outside Woolworths), where people can drop off their stationary kits or stay and help wrap up the packages, from 10am until 5pm. Each kit is made up of a pair of scissors, a pencil, a box of wax crayons, a box of pencil crayons, a drawing book, a colouring-in book, five pages of assorted coloured paper, an eraser, a sharpener, one tub of play dough, an inflatable ball, a ruler, one glue stick, a bean bag and a large shoebox. Individuals and corporations who don’t have time to purchase each individual item can also donate R150 to “purchase” a box. Call the Chaeli Campaign at +27 (0)21 761 4326 or email info@chaelicampaign.co.za to let them know you want to pitch in.

Help chop vegetables for Sekisa’s 67 Minute Soup. Peel, chop and slice vegetables to make soup, which will be distributed to different community NGOs or frozen for the future, with Sekisa Foods in Montague Gardens. The aim of the food focused non-profit company’s drive is to cook enough soup to feed 670 people. The event- it’s like a relay race of cooking – calls on corporations, like Old Mutual and PFK, to pass the baton of preparation after an allocated time slot. Though they are almost fully booked, there is an opening between 4pm and 5pm for teams of 6 to 7 people. Otherwise, individuals are more than welcome to come along during the day and lend a hand where they can. You can also support Sekisa by purchasing a few of their homemade products, like citrus marmalade, tomato and apple chutney and onion marmalade, which are available at selected Checkers stores as well as at the organisation’s offices in Montague Gardens. Call +27 (0)82 665 7527 or email info@sekisa.org for more information.

Make a difference in Blikkiesdorp. Two special events, one a painting project and the other a gardening project, are being held in Blikkiesdorp in honour of Mandela Day and as an effort to enrich the lives of the community. For more information on how to get involved contact Lee Warren by email at leewarren@hotmail.co.za or call +27 (0)76 041 4974.

  • Library Project: Bruce, a resident of Blikkiesdorp, will be painting mural of Mandela holding Blikkiesdorp in his hands on the front face of the library container wall. Volunteers can donate their time as well as different coloured paints and paint brushes. A videographer is also needed to capture the project.  Call Jerome Daniels on +27 (0)71 060 9064 if you want to get involved.
  • Garden Project: The Blikkiesdorp Garden was officially launched on Mandela Day 2012, and project organisers would like to commemorate this by putting up a plaque with the official name, The Thando Blikkiesdorp Garden Project. Help is needed in making of the plaque, putting up 40m of mesh to protect crops against the wind and planting of 10 fruit trees; donations of soil and compost are also needed. Call Bern De Kock on +27 (0)73 508 2869 for more information.

Cape Town holds special significance for Madiba; we investigated with Mandela’s Cape Town Memories. Plus, keep him close to your heart by touring Nelson Mandela’s Cape Town landmarks.

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle and check out our Pinterestboards for updates.

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