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67 Blankets, a campaign built in the spirit of Madiba

The project has now become a worldwide group of knitters.

The 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela campaign started as a challenge and has now become a worldwide project.

“The journey started with a challenge from Zelda la Grange to make 67 blankets by Mandela Day 2014 to give to people in need, little did I know how the project will grow. The project has now become a worldwide group of knitters,” said Carolyn Steyn, the founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day.

Carolyn is no stranger to the community of Kensington and surrounds. She is a former learner of Jeppe High School for Girls and a Kensington resident.

It’s been four years since the project started and Carolyn said every year it keeps getting bigger.

Jeppe Girls headmistress Dina Gonçalves with former Jeppe Girls learner and 67 Blankets founder Carolyn Steyn and learners during the scarf display day on June 20 at Jeppe Girls.

This year is Madiba’s centenary year and 67 Blankets has attempted a Guinness World Record for the Longest Crochet Scarf in the World.

“I don’t plan what we will be crocheting next year. It just comes to me and I decide there and then that is what we will do,” explained Carolyn.

India currently holds the record for the longest scarf in the world which is 14km.

“Our scarf will be 27 kilometres long, which represents the years the late President Nelson Mandela spent in prison. We saw this as a befitting tribute to his life on his 100th birthday,” said Carolyn.

She said this project has touched so many lives and has also allowed people to contribute to a good cause.

“When I accepted the challenge and began to crochet I realised I will never do it alone because of my arthritis.

“I decided to ask for help from friends, and in the spirit of Madiba people joined to help and they have continued to join and support the campaign.

“We have been knitting broken lives together and it has been amazing,” said Carolyn.

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela has achieved a lot since it started, from crocheting the Massive Mandela Masterpiece to the Largest Crochet Blanket in the World which measured 3 377 square meters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.



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The campaign has also won Campaign of the Year at the South African of the Year Awards in October 2014.

The campaign even got the Department of Correctional Services involved whereby every prison in South Africa will have the initiative introduced as part of their curriculum.

“The partnership is born from the shared belief that every person can change for the better, if nurtured, and deserves a second chance.

“The initiative is being used as a means of rehabilitation and skills development as well as enabling those incarcerated to integrate within the broader society, knitting in the name of the greatest prisoner of them all, Nelson Mandela,” said Carolyn.


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