Do something to help others

sello---textSello Hatang of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory has taken part in the Bikers For Mandela initiative before so this year he will be doing the Trek4Mandela climb of Mount Kilimanjaro for Mandela Day. (Image: Shamin Chibba)

The spirit of active citizenship and volunteerism is the backbone Brand South Africa believes will make Nelson Mandela International Day a success and change South Africa for the better.

To capitalise on the goodwill of others, the organisation and its partners launched the Play Your Part for Madiba campaign at the Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton, Johannesburg. Mandela Day is held annually on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday, and the campaign was launched on 6 July as a run up to the day.

At the event, various people spoke about the importance of the day and the reason Mandela Day is celebrated worldwide.

According to Brand South Africa, the new campaign is aimed at building a spirit of active citizenship among all South Africans, which is required to drive the implementation of the National Development Plan or Vision 2020.

The goal of the month-long Play your Part for Madiba is to uphold the ideals, values and actions of Madiba. Madiba was Mandela’s clan name, and the name by which he was fondly known. His legacy encourages South Africans to play their part in the creation of positive change by building their communities and upholding a spirit of ubuntu and social cohesion.

Brand South Africa board member Geoffrey Rothschild said: “We acknowledge and thank all South Africans who commit themselves to ensure that Mandela Day is a huge success… I would like to quote Madiba and ask all of you to live by his motto: free yourself, free others and serve every day.”

Yusuf Abramjee, of LeadSA, said: “Although Mandela Day falls on a weekend this year, it does not mean you should not participate. There is no activity too big or small… Through acts of kindness we will make South Africa a better place and uphold Madiba’s legacy.”


There are two official Mandela Day events taking place: Bikers for Mandela Day, which is in its sixth year, and Trek4Mandela, which is in its fourth year.

Zelda Le Grange, who was Madiba’s long-time assistant and convenes the former, said: “We will be embarking on a ride from 16 July to Eastern Cape and do a lot of charity work. Bikers for Mandela Day was launched so that South Africa’s large biker community could pay tribute to Madiba and his legacy. Madiba strongly believed that small acts of kindness could change the world for the better and gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity.”

Sello Hatang, from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, added: “I ran away from bikers now I find myself climbing a mountain,” to laughter from the audience.

Hatang will join South African adventurer Sibusiso Vilane in ascending Mount Kilimanjaro for the legacy campaign.

Trek4Mandela benefits Caring4Girls, a programme to provide sanitary towels and menstrual hygiene information to underprivileged girls in rural communities.


Brand South Africa has also partnered with the GEM Project, or Go the Extra Mile. The two have developed a Play Your Part app which contains a number of organisations needing assistance from South Africans.

These include, among others, those that provide clothing, assistance with homework, job shadowing and skills development, which all South Africans will be able to support.

The GEM Project works by rewarding individuals: once they have helped a cause, they are eligible to receive a reward via the app, termed a GEM. The GEMS can be converted into a number of products such as airtime, data, pre-paid electricity, or even movie tickets.

“The app is a social development drive that aims to mobilise communities within themselves so that they can help each other rise,” explained David Shields, GEM Project co-founder. “Volunteers are encouraged to donate their GEMs back to the needy causes during Mandela Month.”

In South Africa, to extend the goodwill, Mandela Day has been stretched for the whole month of July.

“In order to ensure continuity and mobilise support even beyond Mandela Month, corporates are also encouraged to donate GEMs so that they can be allocated towards causes on an ongoing basis.”

This was a call to action so that every day could become a Mandela Day, said Brand South Africa’s acting chief marketing officer, Sithembile Ntombela.

“This partnership is an extension not only to the commemorative month’s activities and actions of goodwill by South Africans, but we hope that the nation will continue to contribute to positive change because a nation of people who care deeply for one another, and the environment in which they live, is beneficial for everyone.”