On the 18th of July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, South African’s are called upon to donate 67 minutes of their time and effort to improve the conditions in their own communities. The number of minutes represents the years that Nelson Mandela was alive and gave in service to his nation. He continues to inspire us to this day with his ongoing legacy and enduring examples of courage.
“We need to restore and reaffirm the dignity of the people of Africa and the developing world. We need to place the eradication of poverty at the top of world priorities. We need to know with a fresh conviction that we all share a common humanity and that our diversity in the world is the strength for our future together.”
– Nelson Mandela
Launched in 2009, Nelson Mandela International Day, or Mandela Day for short, has been gaining momentum across South Africa. This year the Explore Sideways team invited friends and family to join in the fun with one of our specialist guides, Juma, to give back to the Khayelitsha community.
A fantastic day of painting murals for a school and helping local residents to dig and plant vegetable gardens in their back yards was arranged. The murals depicted images and inspirational quotes from Nelson Mandela to motivate the young scholars of the school to work hard and never give up. The vegetables grown in the gardens that were planted will be eaten by the residents or sold to restaurants or other locals to provide a second income for the home owners.
To top off our day we finished off with a delicious chesa nyama braai or barbecue at Village House, the local hangout and our new favourite restaurant. This was a highlight for many of us and definitely an immersive experience. We got a chance to socialise with some of the nearby residents and compare notes on which activity was more fun, painting or planting.
Our friends at Sprout Performance Partners (who we share an office space with) also joined in the fun and helped paint a classroom at the school that one of their colleagues attended.
On our way back into Cape Town we had a chance to reflect on the mornings experiences and share stories and anecdotes from the day. The mood was positive and everyone had something to share. Giving back to a community, regardless of whether it’s your own or not, seems to have it’s benefits. We went back to work feeling inspired and motivated to do more for our own communities and to find ways of giving back and contributing, not only on Mandela Day but everyday.
Needless to say, we’re looking forward to next year, where, on the 18th of July, we have another opportunity to give back and get inspired for change. You should join us if you can!