67 Blankets for Mandela claims a world record

29 April 2016

The 67 Blankets for Mandela campaign encourages people from all over the world, and now prisoners from across the country, to contribute handmade blankets towards creating a giant world record-breaking blanket, while contributing to a good cause.

The campaign has confirmed that the Guinness Book of Records has officially recognised the organisation’s successful world record attempt at creating the world’s biggest blanket.

On 22 April 2016, thousands of blanket contributions from as far afield as Asia, the United States and Australia, as well as blankets handmade by South African prisoners – totalling over 20 tons of handmade blankets – were stitched and combined at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre in Paarl‚ Western Cape. The combined blanket covered 17 181 square metres‚ five times larger than last year’s blanket record achieved through a similar idea in India.

The 67 Blankets for Mandela organisation, inspired by the life and values of Nelson Mandela, approached South African prisoners to crochet and contribute their unique blanket designs to the record attempt, using almost R7-million worth of donated yarn.

Drakenstein was an appropriate venue: It was from this facility that Nelson Mandela took his first steps to freedom on 11 February 1990.

All blankets that formed part of the world record will be distributed to the poor.

In August 2015‚ campaign founder Carolyn Steyn, together National Commissioner of Correctional Services Zach Modise, established an initiative to introduce blanket-making in prisons as part of prisoners’ rehabilitation. “The initiative offers an opportunity for inmates from across the country to give back to society‚” Modise said at the launch. “The key to rehabilitation is empowering offenders with skills to function effectively in society upon their release.”

Since the organisation’s launch in 2014‚ the enthusiasm of KnitWits for Madiba – as contributors call themselves – has spread around the world. But for Steyn the prisoners’ participation was a “momentous” new direction for the concept: “Thousands of men and women serving sentences in South Africa will be largely responsible for keeping thousands upon thousands of people in impoverished communities warmer over all the winters to come‚ in the name of the greatest prisoner of them all‚ is. indicative of a healing nation‚” Steyn said at the record attempt.

Watch a video clip of the successful world record attempt:

Source: SABC News