News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
24 Apr 2017
6:45 am

67 Blankets celebrates Hook-Up Day at Union Buildings

Virginia Keppler

They hosted various families around the country, as well as around the world, in a reminder of Madiba’s legacy.

67 Blankets yesterday spread some goodwill at the Union Buildings in Pretoria during their Hook-Up Day, spreading blankets of all sizes and colours around the feet of the statue of Nelson Mandela.

67 Blankets spokesperson Jaco Lötter said they hosted various families around the country, as well as around the world, in a reminder of Madiba’s legacy.

“The blankets will eventually be handed over and distributed to those in need,” he added. Founded three years ago by Carolyn Steyn in response to a challenge by Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s personal assistant, to knit 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, the NPO has grown from 67 blankets to 670 blankets, to a world record 27 000 blankets donated to those in need.

Lötter said that in the process, 67 Blankets claimed the Guinness world record in 2015 for largest crochet blanket. “India made a bid for the title and briefly took it out of South Africa’s hands, but then we won it again in 2016 with a blanket measuring over 17 000 square meters .

“Throughout the year, people from all walks of life, including prisoners and schoolgoers, put care and compassion into their knitting, stitching the country together, one stitch at a time.

“67 Blankets has grown into an international movement, with knitwits in many countries donating blankets in the name of Madiba,” Lötter said.

In partnership with the department of correctional services, 67 Blankets started the “Knitting Broken Lives and our Nation Together” initiative that gives inmates an opportunity to give back to members of communities who have been affected by crime and poverty.

Knitting and crocheting blankets has given thousands of inmates, both men and women, a sense of industry and purpose, assisting them in their rehabilitation and providing skills development behind bars.

“67 Blankets has changed my life – and many lives. What I have learned over the past three years is the importance of alliance, partnership, friendship and relationships embodying trust, respect, kindness and common purpose.

“None of what we have collectively achieved would have been remotely possible without these elements. And together, we have achieved some great things,” said Steyn.