On Mandela Day, 18 July, Brand South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Methodist Church of South Africa gave Simunye High School, in Bekkersdal in Gauteng, a makeover.
Mandela Day is devoted to the late leader’s commitment to serving humanity, and in honour of his 67 years fighting for freedom, people around the world are asked to devote 67 minutes to making the world a better place.
Brand South Africa, the South African Christian Leadership Initiative (SACLI) and the Nelson Mandela Foundation organised the day and supplied materials for the renovations, which included cleaning and fixing windows, replacing doors and repainting peeling walls.
Some 170 people attended the event to kick-start renovations on the school; Brand South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation will work with the Bekkersdal community to keep the school in good condition.
Delegates at the event included presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa, Bishop Zipho Siwa; Gauteng premier, David Makhura; Reverend Moss Ntlha, from the South African Council of Churches; and Siki Dlanga, SACLI youth coordinator.
GETTING DIRTY TO COME CLEAN
Dlanga exhorted the community and volunteers to be courageous, saying, “We want to awake a post-Mandela generation of courageous, visionary, ethical God-fearing young leaders to serve South Africa,” while Makhura emphasised the importance of education; “Education is the ray of hope. If we get education right we will solve all the problems in the nation.”
Siwa and Ntlha were fiery in their conviction that young people take up the torch to lead South Africa into greatness through service, as Nelson Mandela wanted.
Bishop Siwa said, “Young people… you have the choice to pick up the mantle of your elders so that God will anoint you as leaders to build our nation of South Africa. Equally you can choose to walk away and allow others to shape the nation and perhaps erode our freedom. If each one of us heeded the call … we would be living Nelson Mandela’s legacy and helping to build a country of our dreams. The baton of leadership has been handed over to us. It is in our hands now to make a positive difference.”
Ntlha said to the youngsters attending the event; “Mandela’s mantel has fallen and is within reach of everyone in this generation. After all, is it not this generation who has travelled with this great prophet, statesman and gentle spirit? Have we not breathed the same air he breathed?
“While others will only read of him in years to come, we are heirs – sons and daughters of the Mandela generation. We are his progeny and harbingers of hope for the future. We have been endowed with a rare privilege to take his legacy further. His mantle is in our hands. What will we do with it?”
Having charged the audience with continuing and living Mandela’s legacy of service, Ntlha concluded; “You have to get dirty to become the person living in a clean environment.”
The audience took his words to heart and got down to work, singing as they revamped the dilapidated school. They joined South Africans around the country to devoting 67 minutes of service to making the world a better place.