Each year when Mandela day comes around, businesses, celebrities, media personalities and organisations come together to use their 67 minutes to give and contribute to society in one way or another. This year was no different.
“It’s very important for businesses and celebrities to participate in volunteering initiatives like this because these are the same people that support you,” says media personality Lasizwe Dambuza.
Adopt-a-School Foundation came together with some of its long-term partners, including the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, Anglo Gold Ashanti and South African-owned sneaker brand Bathu for the 12th Back to School for Mandela day initiative at Qhobosheane Primary School in Soweto.
The event brought together the community of Soweto, businesses and celebrity volunteers such as Lasizwe, The River actress Matsepho Sekgopi, Oros Mampofu and Miss SA finalists.
The day was filled with volunteer-based activities, including infrastructure development to some classrooms and play areas, library resourcing, care packages, eye testing for students and other minor renovations.
South African-owned shoe brand Bathu also donated 100 pairs of school shoes to Soweto school.
“It is just a token of appreciation to the community. We wouldn’t be where we are without the community supporting us,” said Cedrick Diphoko, Bathu managing director.
Days like these remind us of the grander reach and change made when brands, the community and celebrities unite to bring a change.
Miss SA finalist Itumeleng Parage says: “It’s one thing to dream about helping to donate school shoes, but it’s another thing to have resources that back it up and make it a reality.”
Mandela Day should remind us that we can all contribute in some way, however small or big, to make the world around us a better place.
Yet the “make every day a Mandela Day” phrase also reminds us that the act of making the world a better place should not only be reserved for the 18th of July.
“It’s important to volunteer as an individual outside of a project. It must just be a lifestyle,” says Itumeleng Parage.
“These partnerships should not be a once-off thing. They should be continues. The need is so great,” said CEO of Adopt-a-School Foundation, Steve Lebere.
To celebrate 20 years of existence, Adopt-a-School Foundation also launched a campaign to provide shoes to schools across South Africa and has partnered with Bathu.
Bathu also aims to give 1 million shoes in 10 years.