By Belinda Unterslak, Synthesis Events and Marketing Coordinator
The 18th of July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, also known as Mandela Day, is once again upon us. The day has been marked as an annual international day and adopted by the United Nations, in honour of Nelson Mandela. Mandela Day was inspired by Nelson Mandela himself, when at his 90th birthday celebration in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 he said, “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now”. A theme running through his life was that one person can change the world for the better.
On Mandela Day we celebrate the life of a true hero. A man who fought for human rights, reconciliation and for change. Mandela was loved and respected by everyone around the world. He is famous for promoting a message of forgiveness and equality. He led by example and loved his country and its people more than himself.
After being incarcerated for 27 years, he was one of the driving forces behind creating a fair democracy for all South Africans. This was the first time in South African history in which all individuals over the age of 18 were able to vote, regardless of race, gender, and religion.
Throughout the years Nelson Mandela established himself as a true leader that many people around the world looked up to and venerated.
Nelson Mandela has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years, beginning in 1942 when he first started to campaign for the human rights of every South African. In his honour, one minute is given for every year of Mandela’s public service. No matter how small the action, Mandela Day is about changing the world for the better, just as Nelson Mandela did, every day.
With COVID-19 reaching its peak in South Africa, there is increased poverty. The essence of this year’s Mandela Day, namely, to take action, inspire change, and make every day a Mandela Day, is more important than ever before.
This harsh reality has inspired Synthesis to rise to the Mandela Day challenge once again. With limitations on being able to physically go out, the Synthesis family decided to give their time by learning a new skill – knitting, crocheting, and/or sewing. A goal was set to create, make or acquire 200 scarves, 200 masks, 1000 cans of food and 50 blankets to be distributed to a well-deserving cause.
Teams knitting and crocheting lessons were set-up as well as remote Friday afternoon coffee sessions which took place for those wanting to take the time out, chat over Teams with colleagues whilst knitting or crocheting. The aim of all of this was to give our time remotely, while exercising social distancing. People who never thought they would learn to knit or crochet made scarves and blankets. All of this was done in honour of Mandela Day, but at the same time enabled and facilitated the learning of a new skill during lockdown.
We are humbled and grateful to the Synthesis family for all their contributions towards this worthy cause. We not only met our initial targets but exceeded them, and this could not have been achieved without each and every member of the team.
As always Synthesis has committed to give additional food parcels. Afrika Tikkun will distribute the additional food parcels sponsored by Synthesis amongst families in the communities near their centres in Cape Town (Zolile Malindi Community Centre) and Johannesburg (Phuthaditjaba Community Centre in Alexandra, Arekopaneng Community Centre in Orange Farm, Wings of Life in Diepsloot and Braamfontein, Uthando Community Centre).
Our intention is that this will go some way and will hopefully inspire others to get involved. In the words of a great man, Nelson Mandela: “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return.”