Volunteers did Madiba proud

WORKS OF ART: Children become part of a ‘living artwork’ for Mandela Day at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum on Friday and Saturday. The public was invited to be part of a huge, collectively made yarn sculpture. Find the NMM Art Museum’s Mandela Day Yarn Sculpture on the museum’s Facebook page or visit the museum at 1 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth, where the finished work is on display until Wednesday. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
WORKS OF ART: Children become part of a ‘living artwork’ for Mandela Day at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum on Friday and Saturday. The public was invited to be part of a huge, collectively made yarn sculpture. Find the NMM Art Museum’s Mandela Day Yarn Sculpture on the museum’s Facebook page or visit the museum at 1 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth, where the finished work is on display until Wednesday. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

NOT even the cold, wet weather could stop Nelson Mandela Bay residents and organisations from doing their bit to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Many businesses spent their 67 minutes doing charity work on Friday – but others wanted to spend the former statesman’s birthday on Saturday doing their good works.

The Gem Project did not let the rain deter them.

Its members spent the day refurbishing the Diana Love pre-school in Walmer township, painting the jungle gyms and buildings, and replacing broken swings.

Siphiwo Rhayi, project manager for the initiative, said: “We can never be worried about the rain on Madiba day. It’s all for a good cause.”

Juliet Jarvis, director of the Gem Project, said something that would have a lasting legacy was chosen.

“The kids will have a nice, bright and beautiful school when they come back from holiday,” she said.

Max Popo, chairman of the school governing body, said the school was excited by the initiative.

“We are always happy when there are projects that are geared to help the community.

“There’s a problem with vandalism here. When there are protests in the area, people will jump the fence and take equipment, so it’s nice to see,” Popo said.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the metro, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism handed out scarves, socks, gift bags, gave of their time at an old-age home in Motherwell, and held a 5km Rock Girl walk in New Brighton.

At Baywest Mall, the Marrow Masakhane – an initiative by the Igazi Foundation, Just1HR and Project Sparkle to sign up new bone marrow donors – tested 26 potential donors and registered 41 others.

Project Sparkle and Just1HR also joined forces with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber to spread some joy at the Livingstone Hospital paediatric orthaepedic ward.

Chicky, the KFC chicken, entertained the young patients, who were also treated to a party with cake and sweets and received soccer balls.

Hospital boss Thulane Madonsela reminded the gathering of Mandela’s belief that the true measure of a community was how it treated its children.

About 280 volunteers teamed up with the Radisson Blu Hotel to make 2 600 litres of soup for charity.

Buckets of soup and loaves of bread were handed to eight beneficiaries – Love Story, Healing Hands, Missionvale Care Centre, The Salvation Army, Kleinskool, Meals on Wheels, Carehaven and Walmer Soup Kitchen.

Radisson Blu’s director of sales and marketing, Michelle Muller, said 800kg of vegetables were used to feed the hungry bellies.

She said Radisson would definitely partake in the event again next year.

One volunteer, Gloria Botha, said it was an honour to feed the less fortunate on Madiba’s birthday.

“It was exciting. I wish I could do more,” she said.

Another, Sonia Claasen, said: “Regardless of the weather, every one was eager to take part in this event. I will definitely do something like this again next year.”

The South African National Defence Force did a fly-by with their BK 117 helicopter.

-Rochelle de Kock, Kathryn Kimberley and Estelle Ellis

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