Kenneth Mokgatlhe
3 minute read
19 Jul 2022
4:30 am

Mandela Day: ‘He was a special human being’

Kenneth Mokgatlhe

Mandela sacrificed his entire life for all of us – elderly resident in Alexandra.

Volunteers make sandwiches for charity as part of their 67 minutes for Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton as part of the celebrations of Mandela Day, 18 July 2022. Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen

Dance, song and gifts were the order of the day at the Fingertips of Africa event to celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela yesterday in Alexandra.

More than 150 people attended the event and were showered with gifts and food parcels.

Alexandra, the oldest Johannesburg township, was home to Mandela from 1941, when he rented a room before relocating to one of the two houses owned by John Xhoma from Cradock who ran a transport business.

Fingertips of Africa was a charity established to reduce the financial hardships during lockdown. The organisation runs shelters and youth centres in Soweto and Alexandra.

“In Alexandra, we honour Nelson Mandela on a daily basis, not just today. We have a youth centres, shelters for the homeless and we are running a sewing school among other things. We could not have achieved this milestone without FeedSA, Angel Network and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD),” Fingertips of Africa said.

Children dance as their parents sit in a queue to recieve food and parcels at the Fingertips for Africa charity in Alex, 18 July 2022. The charity was established during Covid and runs shelters and feeds the community with soup kitchens . Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
Children dance as their parents sit in a queue to recieve food and parcels at the Fingertips for Africa charity in Alex, 18 July 2022. The charity was established during Covid and runs shelters and feeds the community with soup kitchens . Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen

Noxolo Mkhize, 64, who attended the event, said: “We are happy to celebrate the life of Madiba; he is still a special human being.

“He sacrificed his entire life for all of us, hence he deserves to be remembered each year.”

At the event, overjoyed children were singing and dancing in different groups while elderly people sat and watched the children honouring the late country’s president.

Angel Network, in partnership with the SAJBD, said they collected R700 000 to help needy people in Johannesburg and Cape Town. They are dispatching food parcels, perishable and non-perishable, to Orange Farm, Alexandra, Soweto, Slovoville and Brakpan.

“We are giving out perishable and non-perishable food that will last for three weeks in a family of five members.

“We will provide food to more than 900 families around Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“It is not enough but we are not stopping there,” said Glynne Wolman, founder and director of Angel Network.

Children perform for elderly in a queue to recieve food and parcels at the Fingertips for Africa charity in Alex, 18 July 2022. The charity was established during Covid and runs shelters and feeds the community with soup kitchens . Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
Children perform for elderly in a queue to receive food and parcels at the Fingertips for Africa charity in Alex, 18 July 2022. Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen

In Brakpan, Jessie Nkosi and Yakima Waner started a harvest project focusing on helping immigrant minors or children and shackdwellers from Plastic City informal settlement.

The children, aged between two and 10, are stateless, which means they do not get any government services, including primary health care.

The duo have been able to establish an early childhood development centre. “We have been allowed to use the synagogue as our working centre. We have been able to feed 87 kids since last year, and we are continuing, thanks to the support that we are getting.

“We have started a garden project to sustain the project and also to show kids that there is always hope by them watching these plants as they grow,” Waner said.

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