Mandela Day takes place around the world on 18 July and is a day to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, our former President, and his values, through volunteering and community service. For 67 years, Madiba fought for social justice and so, people around the world are asked to take 67 minutes on Mandela Day to give back to the world around them and participate in volunteer work in some way.
The Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS), a group of some 250 volunteer wildland firefighters, deploy from four fire bases – Newlands, Jonkershoek, South Peninsula and Grabouw – to provide much-needed support to the likes of CapeNature, Table Mountain National Park, Overberg District Municipality and Winelands District Municipality, fighting some of the most destructive wildfires Cape Town and the Western Cape have experienced.
“I became aware of the VWS 10 years ago, when a current volunteer introduced me to the whole experience,” explains Jarrod. “The VWS bug bit me, but current work and study circumstances didn't allow me to take up the opportunity at that point in time. VWS was always in the back of my mind and became even more prominent again 2015, when I assisted the community of Noordhoek in protecting the surrounding areas during the big mountain fires. This is when I realised that this is something I really wanted to do and this VWS bug into a full blown fever and I started doing some research on how to become a fire fighter. The rest is now history and I am officially an active member of the VWS, at the South Peninsula Station.”
Robyn Africa and real estate agent Aida Midrand joined up with Food For Life, for a food outreach in Midrand. Food For Life is an organization that aims to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in South Africa.
“I was interested in joining up with this organization as it has always been an interest of mine to make a difference for those who do not have the same opportunities or lifestyle benefits as most people do,” says Robyn. “Being able to spread joy and fill hungry tummies is certainly a blessing.”
Ziyaad is chairmen to a registered NPO and DSD (Social Development) organisation called South African Youth League and United Humanitarians.
They have 5 core values, namely Crime prevention, Charity, Gender Equality& Equity, Education, and Youth Development, and have focused their work around the Johannesburg West area.
“Our most current project is feeding different communities around the Johannesburg area once a week throughout the winter time and if we get enough sponsors we will give them socks beanies and scarfs,” explains Ziyaad.
“We have a recent Big Brother project that we launched where we try and get male mentors into the high schools to mentor troubled boys as statistics show most of South African male criminals have no positive male mentors.”
Having an academic and professional background in sport science and psychology, Gerry has been interested in the facets around violent behaviour and the formation of gangs and has been looking for an opportunity to break the cycle of violence in our communities. Besides his work at BODYTEC, Gerry is the founder and managing director of Bom Combat, a non-profit organisation that has developed a martial arts-based methodology for children, adolescents and young adults, focusing on cognitive-behavioural changes around conduct, aggression and substance abuse problems.
Gerry explains, “The very nature of Martial Arts requires a person to work through strong emotions evoked in the practice and requires them to learn to control these, which is not only a humbling experience, but initially a factor of attraction for young adolescents to participate and wanting to learn.” Bom Combat’s principles have been applied in various clinical, school and community settings since 2012.
Nigel Williams was invited by a close friend, Pricilla Rose to teach her school children to do aerobics exercises that they could use for their school concert. Shortly after that Pricilla Rose and Joeleen Bruinders launched Horizon Discoveries in 2014 and asked Nigel to be part of it.
“My reason for joining Horizon Discoveries was because my late mom, Lorraine Williams, always gave back to the community by having soup kitchens and working with cancer patients,” explains Nigel. “I believe we need to give back to the community not just by giving donations but giving our time as well.”
What will you be doing for your 67 minutes this Mandela Day? To give back with our trainers, visit their organisations’ websites above, or for more information on how you can give back to your community on 18 July and in the future, visit www.mandeladay.com.