The spirit of the late former president Nelson Mandela was in the air on Tuesday July 18 as the City of Johannesburg staged dozens of activities across all regions to mark what would have been his 99th birthday.
The City’s main Mandela Day event was held at the Greener Pastures Early Childhood Development Centre in Kenilworth, in Region F, where Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, who was accompanied by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Cllr Mpho Phalatse, spent 67 minutes handing out goodies to smiling children and painting one of the classrooms.
In White City Jabavu, Soweto, Region D, City entities such as Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo (JCPZ), Johannesburg Roads Agency and Pikitup, as well as the Nelson Mandela Foundation, spent their 67 minutes giving the Adelaide Tambo School for the Mentally Challenged a makeover.
The school was named after Adelaide Tambo, wife of ANC stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo. Coincidentally, the late Ma-Tambo, a struggle activist in her own right, and Madiba shared the birthday.
JCPZ Managing Director Bulumko Nelana said Mandela Day was about giving back and making a difference to other people’s lives.
“Today it’s not only Tata Nelson Mandela’s birthday, it’s also Mama Adelaide Tambo’s. We’re here to celebrate the lives of two selfless leaders who dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others,” said Nelana.
Principal Lindela Memani said he was grateful to all those who dedicated 67 minutes to helping the school.
“The donations and services we received today will go a long way in minimising the challenges the learners face,” said Memani. In Region C, the City’s Disaster Management team visited residents of the Donovan Macdonald Old Age Home in Maraisburg to clean the centre and give the senior citizens advice on how to react in case of an emergency.
The Gauteng Disaster Management Centre, South Africa Social Security Agency and the Gift of the Givers donated blankets and food parcels. Local ward councillor Caleb Finn said: “Today is an amazing opportunity for every one of us to take a break from what we normally do and serve those around us who are less fortunate than ourselves.”
For its part, the Joburg Theatre, in partnership with private sector companies, hosted an information-sharing workshop for unemployed graduates. More than 150 unemployed graduates attended. Presentations focused on academic skills, dramatic arts and finance.