Spare A Minute
Four years ago, the story goes, Nelson Mandela was giving a speech. When he came to the words, ‘It’s in our hands to make a difference,’ he read, ‘It’s in your hands to make a difference.’ Afterwards, his assistant remarked, ‘You misread a sentence’. ‘No,’ he responded, ‘I changed it. We, the previous generation, are passing on the task of making this world better to the next generation’.
And that, says Frank Meintjies, Mandela Day co-ordinator at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, sowed the seed for the 67 Minutes campaign, which is all about taking individual responsibility for improving our communities, asking ‘What can I do to help?’, and inspiring others to do the same.
Why 67 Minutes?
An activist for social justice, a founding father of the New South Africa and our first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela served this country for 67 years. By donating 67 minutes of your time
to community service on Mandela Day – one minute for each year he gave – you’ll be living his legacy of positive change.
Inaugurated in 2009 by the United Nations, Mandela Day is celebrated worldwide each year with a variety of awareness-raising exhibitions, films and seminars. Frank estimates that 800 000 people in SA participate in the campaign. ‘When we focus on helping people who are worse off than ourselves, it feels empowering.’
Cool, Creative, Caring
Education and child welfare are two focus areas of the campaign. Last year the Nelson Mandela Founda-tion set up 13 libraries in converted containers at primary schools across SA to help stimulate a love of reading and improve literacy levels, while people around the country painted classrooms and fixed desks. A community group organised a drive to encourage 67 000 people to donate R67 each, which went towards building a new school in Zandspruit informal settlement, Joburg. A company in Klerksdorp collected new and old school shoes and donated them to learners, and a church group served hot meals at primary schools once a week over two months around Mandela Day. ‘During Mandela Week, we encourage children to take extra lunch to school, to hand in to a teacher for distribution to kids who don’t have any food,’ says Frank. Building relationships is another key feature. In 2011, the CycAlive team took school learners on a five-day cycle from Joburg to Durban, and this year will repeat the journey. With Mandela Day falling in midwinter, donated blankets keep hearts and bodies warm, whether volunteers collect them or organise friends to spend 67 minutes knitting a square each. Random acts of kindness are welcomed, says Frank. ‘Your contribution can include the smallest or biggest acts.’
What do these local celebs have planned?
Simon Gear, 50/50 presenter and environmental consultant ‘I’ll be doing admin work for the Rhino Action Group. I would encourage people to make their 67 minutes count. Do something that will last a year, such as painting a school.’
Africa Melane, 567 CapeTalk DJ
‘My mom taught at Siyabulela Primary School in Langa for 21 years. As part of Primedia’s Lead SA initiative, each presenter is “adopting” a school, so I’ll be inviting listeners to join me in making a difference at Siyabulela.’
Angie Khumalo, 5fm DJ
‘Last year I participated in the Bikers for Mandela Day event, riding more than 2 200 km to remote parts of the country – raising awareness and getting communities involved in helping their less advantaged neighbours. I hope to do the same this year in more parts of the country.’ I support two charities: one for abused girls at Makeba Centre in Midrand, the other is SOS Mamelodi. For my 67 minutes,
I’ll be cooking with the girls at Makeba. – Lucia Mthiyane, Muvhango actress
Over To You
Active Learning Libraries South Africa
Their aim is to build our nation through play, as many children grow up in impoverished environ-ments without access to books or educational toys.
Spend 67 minutes donating old books and toys your children have outgrown, or volunteer to repair broken toys.
Contact 011 484 0335
Amy Biehl Foundation
This organisation gives children in townships across SA a brighter future by hosting educational and cultural activities after school.
Spend 67 minutes attending their Mandela Day event alongside the SA Ubuntu Foundation, or get involved by preparing veggies for food for the homeless.
Contact 021 462 5052
Food & Trees For Africa (FTFA)
FTFA distributes trees around South Africa and has planted thousands of organic vegetable gardens for our country’s poorest residents.
Spend 67 minutes planting a tree in a disadvantaged community.
Contact 011 656 9802
They offer sporting programmes to teens as an alternative to drugs and crime.
Spend 67 minutes donating unwanted yet good-quality sports gear and equipment.
Contact 021 702 7892
Save A Pet
They rehabilitate, rescue and rehome abandoned and abused animals. They also educate the local community on the respon-sibility of pet ownership.
Spend 67 minutes cleaning, caring and playing with the animals or donating food.
Contact 041 372 1780
In Your Area
Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre
Contact 013 932 3941/2
Hartbeespoort Animal Welfare Society (HAWS)
Contact 076 455 0322
Tears (The Emma Animal Rescue Society)
Contact 021 785 4354
The Association For The Aged (TAFTA)
For people over the age of 60, TAFTA assists with everything from applying for their state pension to advice on caring, as well as meal services and accommo-dation facilities for the aged.
Spend 67 minutes volunteering at or donating clothes, furniture and linen to their second-hand shop, or helping serve lunch to the elderly.
Contact 031 332 3721
TFG Gives Back
The employees of The Foschini Group (TFG) are encouraged to give back to their communities. Staff can apply for a R5 000 grant towards any project they are involved in. Trading and service divisions are encouraged to do the same through the provision of a rand-for-rand matching grant of R10 000. Non-profit and non-government organisations can apply directly to TFG for funding, where they’ll be supported over a period of one to three years (if they meet the requirements). The company also organises annual volunteer events – an opportunity for staff to donate their time to a worthy cause.