Warm display of care and goodwill inspires

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day celebrates sixth year with sea of blankets along Marine Drive while collecting donations for flood victims

The Port Elizabeth leg of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day was held on the grass area opposite the Marine Hotel, with Kelsey van Rooyen, 13, Bonita Botha, 37, Wian Botha, 3, and Rhenier Botha, 40, joining in
The Port Elizabeth leg of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day was held on the grass area opposite the Marine Hotel, with Kelsey van Rooyen, 13, Bonita Botha, 37, Wian Botha, 3, and Rhenier Botha, 40, joining in 
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

A colourful display of warmth was spotted along Marine Drive in Port Elizabeth on Sunday as 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day celebrated its sixth year of knitting blankets.

Knitwits from around the country gathered to celebrate Magical Moments 4 Mandela.

The blankets made in 2019 were exhibited and laid out from 9am to 1pm at various places around SA.

The public were invited to view the beautiful wool creations while donations towards the Mozambique floodrelief campaign were collected.

Following the Magical Moments 4 Mandela, the blankets will be distributed to the needy and the donations will be sent to individual Mozambicans.

Cyclone Idai smashed into Beira on March 14, causing catastrophic flooding and killing more than 700 people across three countries in southeast Africa.

Stitch by stitch, we keep the legacy of Madiba alive, bringing hope, comfort and warmth to others
Carolyn Steyn, 67 Blankets founder

The blankets will be delivered earlier than usual to ensure recipients are kept warm from when the first chill arrives.

Nelson Mandela Bay 67 Blankets ambassador Kim Tucker said the event symbolised the commitment to keep living Madiba’s dream.

“His dream is really about caring and sharing.

“[Sunday] was about all of us coming together to display the beautiful blankets that we distribute throughout the year, meeting the public and having a family day,” Tucker said.

The Port Elizabeth leg was hosted on the grass area directly opposite the Marine Hotel.

Events also took place in Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Durban, with the respective groups simultaneously singing the national anthem at 10am.

“One of our great patrons is Graça Machel and she has always supported us, so when the tragedy happened in Mozambique, she asked us to help with donations, and once again South Africans came to the party,” Tucker said.

“Lots and lots of stuff was donated and we also collected some really stunning blankets – we are so blessed.”

Founder of the 67 Blankets initiative, Carolyn Steyn, said this was the sixth year participants would be laying down beautifully knitted and crocheted blankets and it was “incredible to see how this movement has galvanised so many people and communities”.

“Each blanket laid down in these exhibits is a visual reminder of the care and goodwill so many people from SA and around the world have for their fellow men and women.

“Stitch by stitch, we keep the legacy of Madiba alive, bringing hope, comfort and warmth to others,” Steyn said.

“We do not wait until Mandela Day in July to distribute blankets to those in need. We follow the lead from the Nelson Mandela Foundation to make every day a Mandela Day and respond to the needs of the people.”

Mandela Day manager at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Yase Godlo, said these efforts responded to the efforts made by the foundation to ensure that Mandela Day action was taken every day.

“We are delighted that the 67 Blankets initiative is collecting blankets early this year in preparation for the punishing winter,” Godlo said.

“Such acts of kindness are why we remain inspired.”

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