Reitumetse Makwea
Journalist
3 minute read
18 Jul 2022
5:35 am

Madiba magic: Mandela always celebrated around children

Reitumetse Makwea

Inspired by Madiba's desire to end suffering, more than 100 children were spoilt with a day filled with love and laughter on Mandela Day.

The children walked 5km around Jourg Zoo under the theme 'Walking an extra mile so vulnerable children do not have to' 16 July. Picture- Reitumetse Makwea

Mandela Day: Inspired by Madiba’s love for children and a desire to end their suffering, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund spoiled more than 100 children with a day filled with love and laughter.

The children walked 5km around the Johannesburg Zoo under the theme ‘Walking The Extra Mile Do Vulnerable Children Do Not Have To,’ in honour of Mandela Day and for them to experience the significance of walking for a good cause.

An excited six-year-old Reabetswe Tema encouraged South Africans to make the most out of the day, and #Serve Like Mandela.

Crazy Crafts SA mascot CiCi and some of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital patients and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Volunteers at the fun walk at Joburg Zoo on 16July. Photo: The Citizen/Reitumetse Makwea

She said Mandela Day should not be about what South Africans do not have but what they can do for others in need – serve the less fortunate and better shape children’s lives.

“It is nice to see that we can play our part as children in the country just like Ntate Mandela just by walking around the Zoo and seeing the animals,” she said.

“We should do more to put a smile on the faces of children and those who are less fortunate, not just today but every day.”

The fund launched the Children’s Fun Walk as part of their 27th Annual Children’s Celebration and a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH), which is the only dedicated children’s hospital in Gauteng.

Siphesihle Motsepa at the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund fun walk and children’s celebration at Joburg Zoo on 16 July. Photo: The Citizen/Reitumetse Makwea

ALSO READ: Mandela Day: Honour Madiba, save our children

The fund’s interim chief executive Dr Stanley Maphosa said Mandela appreciated the presence of children, and always celebrated his birthday with them, which is what they wanted to do yesterday, to appreciate and put a smile on “the little one’s faces”.

“Madiba loved children and wanted to ensure that as a society, we could take a moment to bring joy to their lives and celebrate them so they can feel appreciated in spite of the many challenges that they face,” he said.

Mandela Day is celebrated every year on his birthday – 18 July. He was born in 1918.

“We thought launching a Children’s Fun Walk would be a great way to get our beneficiaries to come out again and have fun in public spaces following two years of confinement as a result of the pandemic.”

NMCH’s chief executive Dr Nonkululeko Boikhutso said people who say Mandela Day was not worth celebrating were overlooking the legacy, which was essentially about “sacrificing for your country and serving those in need”.

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund invited children to partake in the 5km walk, play games, watch a magic show, live perfomances and have fun in honour of the founder Tata Madiba. Photo: The Citizen/Reitumetse Makwea

“Mandela Day for me is not necessarily about Mandela, but the relevance of serving others continues to be true even today.

“People must not just look at this like it’s just about Tata Mandela, yes he made a huge sacrifice for this country, but it’s really about carrying the legacy of serving others,” said Boikhutso.

The fund continues celebrations throughout this month as part of its campaign for people to #ServeLikeMandela, and as a call for everyone to “Walk a Mile” in Mandela’s shoes and follow in his example of being of service to others during International Mandela Month and beyond.