Mandela Day: “It teaches the nation to give to others, even if it is not financially”

Mandela Day may happen only once a year, but many of the people volunteering on this day give a whole lot more than 67 minutes of their time throughout the year. LIZEKA MADUNA spoke to volunteers in Durban about why they believe giving back is important. 

NokukhanyaNokukhanya Mkhize, 35, social worker, Glenwood
As St Martin’s Children’s Home we don’t concentrate on one day to do a Nelson Mandela 67 minutes; basically every day we do something as a way of giving back to the community. We focus on teaching children because for us to run, somebody gives something to us and we want the children to know that giving is important. Our 67 minutes started a day before, we collected toys and shared them with Mayville Children Care because we are teaching our children to give back and share whatever they have with others. We have also taken clothes to the community of Mayville as part of our 67 minutes.

More info: St Martin’s Children’s Home.

BonisiweBonisiwe Buthelezi, 43, volunteer, Chesterville
Mandela Day means giving back to the community without expecting anything in return. As it says 67 minutes, it basically shows that one can give back by spending this time helping others. People might confuse Mandela Day for charity; well, it is not about giving back financially only – dedicating yourself to something for these given minutes is actually giving back. This doesn’t mean that people should only give back on Mandela Day; as people we need to learn to give back to our communities every day. It is amazing how the little things we do for people can have a great impact on their lives and how they appreciate those little things. I chose volunteering here at the Durban Children’s Home because I want to help these needy children.

More info: Durban Children’s Home.

Sthabiso MdledleSthabiso Mdledle, 26, intern, Durban
It’s not every day where we, the youth, give back to the community and that is why I decided to dedicate my time and clean the DUT campus  yard. I know that there is a lot that I could do as part of my 67 minutes but as someone who is working long hours, I spend most of my time at work and I don’t get to help others. Today, as the Journalism Iziko (the DUT student newspaper) team, we asked the cleaning service to take some rest and we will do the whole cleaning; in a way we are giving them some time to rest at home and spend some time with their families. On 18 July I will be at Gugulesizwe High School in the Mandawe area handing out university application forms to matric learners, and sharing my university experiences with them. Mandela Day plays a significant role in the society, especially because we get to realise the importance of giving without expecting anything in return.

More info: Journalism Iziko.

100_2770Thina Hlophe, 25, resource developer, Glenwood
Mandela Day at Durban Children’s Home started on Thursday; we went to the Umbilo Police Station and painted their walls and did some gardening. For me, Mandela Day basically means giving back and remembrance for a great leader and a great humanitarian. Giving back by dedicating my time is an act of kindness. I don’t take it as a chore, and it is where one gets to realise that even if they don’t have money they can still do something as a way of giving back to the community. That is priceless because when you do good, you feel good. We have teenagers in this unit and they always see people come in and giving us some stuff. Although they see and receive, they don’t really know how fulfilling giving can be and that is why we teach the children around here a sense of giving.
More info: Durban Children’s Home.

BonganiBongani Qwabe, 30, residence adviser, Durban
As a residence adviser I hold the responsibility of leading by a good example. For Mandela Day my students and I were working along the DUT Green Campus Initiative team, together with the staff. What I was doing was basically cleaning around the university and planting new trees because as much as we are important, the environment is also important and it should be our number one priority. Mandela Day reminds us that we are one and we all need a helping hand at some point in life. The significance of Mandela Day is important in South Africa because it teaches the nation to give to others, even if it is not financially.

More info: DUT Green Campus Initiative.

– Featured image: The Journalism Iziko student newspaper team at Durban University of Technology cleaned the campus as part of their Mandela Day activities. All images: By Lizeka Maduna.
– Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity.