What did Carolyn Steyn, founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, do when MC Anele Mdoda handed her the microphone at the Saxon hotel on Thursday 19 February 2015 during the launch of the Cell C Support for 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day 2015?
She curtsied to Jose dos Santos, CEO of Cell C, and thanked him for his commitment and support in helping South Africans with a particular challenge to South African schools to knit and crochet 21 000 blankets by 21 April this year. These blankets will be spread across the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 21 April at the feet of the Nelson Mandela statue before being donated to charity organisations around the country.
Not only will this create a world record, but countless children, everyday South Africans, celebrities and knitters will be empowered to keep 21 000 people warm this year in the name of Nelson Mandela – stitch by stitch.
67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day started in effect in December 2013 when Zelda la Grange, Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, presented philanthropist and “Arts Angel” Carolyn Steyn with a challenge: knit 67 blankets in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Mandela Day brand!
Steyn accepted La Grange’s challenge but soon realised that she wouldn’t be able to achieve it alone. She called on her friends for help and created the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day Facebook group. More than 6 000 blankets were created last year and the project captured the hearts and hands of people across the globe.
At the launch, Steyn shared the prophetic words of La Grange: “If you take up the challenge of 67 blankets, your life will never be the same again.”
Steyn has donated R210 000 prize money in her personal capacity to the participating school that produces the most single-bed-size blankets (140cm x 180cm), with a minimum amount of at least 670 blankets.
This school challenge ends on 15 April 2015.
Dos Santos profusely thanked Steyn for this project, which fits Cell C like “a hand in a glove”. He also thanked the media – the “oh glamorous ones” – for making this inspirational project work. He emphasised the importance of social responsibility for Cell C by saying, “We thrive on social responsibility.”
Cell C, through the Cell C Foundation, has donated R441 000 to benefit 21 participating schools that each stand to win R21 000. It has also supplied wool and tools to various communities in Diepsloot to produce 1 000 blankets, as well as yarn and tools to employees at Cell C who have volunteered for this project.
(Knitters who post a selfie of themselves knitting on 67 Blankets’ social pages could win one of three Amber Gold Huawei Mate 7 mobile handsets valued at
R6 000 each. Post your selfie on @67Blankets and @CellC with the tags #Believe, #EPIC and #67Blankets.)
The inspiring and charismatic Nelson Mandela Foundation CE, Sello Hatang, said when Steyn approached him about the seemingly impossible objective of producing 67 000 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, he came up with a much more achievable number: 21 000 blankets to commemorate the 21 years of South African democracy.
Hatang referred to the importance of blankets in Setswana – an idiom saying, “We are wearing the same blanket.” This expresses unity in thought and effort. Hatang reminded the audience of three concepts that Madiba expressed to his children in 1969. Madiba wrote to them of hope, health and happiness.
So, let’s take up the needles and hooks, and let’s knit the blankets that will keep us together.
For more info:
Twitter: @67Blankets and @CellC
Contact: 0617 67 67 67
Cell C press release
Thursday, 19 February: 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, proudly supported by Cell C, today announced its drive to produce 21 000 blankets by April 21 this year and create a world record in the process.
In this 21st year of democracy, South Africans are encouraged to knit or crochet a blanket. These will be spread across the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria at the feet of the Nelson Mandela statue before being donated to charity organisations around the country.
67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, founded by social entrepreneur Carolyn Steyn, encourages people across the world to knit or crochet blankets to keep needy people warm, in honour of Madiba, and linking in with Nelson Mandela Day and the 67 Minutes initiative, driven by The Nelson Mandela Foundation. It has received international recognition as one of South Africa’s greatest projects in weaving the fabric of the South African nation together.
To date more than 9 000 blankets have been created and handed out to charity organisations. This year the aim is 21 000 blankets and a host of well-known faces have already taken up the challenge including Sophie Ndaba; Miss South Africa Ziphozakhe Zokufa; Anele Mdoda; Gareth Cliff; Johnny Clegg; the cast of Generations, Melinda Bam and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
Schools throughout the country are encouraged to take part and could share more than R650 000 in cash prizes. Twenty one schools stand in line to win one of R21 000 prizes sponsored by Cell C.
In addition founder Carolyn Steyn has donated a cash prize of R210 000 in her personal capacity for the participating school who produces the most single bed size blankets.
Ordinary South Africans – from top CEOs, to community leaders and politicians – will be called upon to make their contribution by delivering a blanket or adopting a knitter to do it on their behalf. Corporates are also encouraged to ask their staff to volunteer to produce blankets and provide the yarn and tools to assist them.
Knitters who post a selfie of themselves knitting on 67 Blankets’ social pages could win one of three Amber Gold, Huawei Mate 7 mobile handsets valued at R 6000 each. Post your selfie on @67Blankets and @CellC with the tags #Believe, #EPIC and #67Blankets.
Cell C has recognised the creative and innovative call to all South Africans to use the power that is in their hands and support this initiative. The company will also empower a group of women in Diepsloot by donating wool and tools and teaching them to knit and crochet as part of this year’s initiative.
Carolyn Steyn, founder of this award winning initiative, says: “The good corporate citizenship of Cell C will go a long way to supporting the vision of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day. We also encourage South African businesses throughout the country to get behind this campaign and ensure that we continue to live the Nelson Mandela legacy.”
Says Suzette van der Merwe, Executive Commercial Communications at Cell C and head of the Cell C Foundation: “This inspiring activity can knit together communities and people across the country. We are hoping that all South Africans will take up this challenge.”
Twitter: @67Blankets and @CellC
Contact: 0617 67 67 67
NOTES FOR EDITORS
ABOUT CELL C’S SUPPORT:
Cell C, through the Cell C Foundation, has donated R441 000 to benefit 21 participating schools to each win R21 000. Cell C has also supplied wool and tools to various communities in Diepsloot to produce 1 000 blankets. It has supplied its employee volunteers with yarn and tools to enable more blankets to be produced.
THE SCHOOL CHALLENGE:
67 Blankets wants to motivate and inspire young South Africans to start knitting and has launched a school challenge which starts on February 19 and ends on April 15, 2015.
Each school will be required to:
Donate a minimum of 21 handmade blankets measuring 140 x 180cm to 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day by April 15, 2015;
In addition, the participating school who produces the most single bed size blankets (140 x 180cm) with a minimum amount of at least 670 blankets will win the R210 000 prize money donated by Carolyn Steyn.
Each blanket must have a complete entry form attached. Entry forms are available for download on www.67blankets.co.za
LOGISTICS AND COLLECTION POINTS:
Airlink and Stuttaford Van Lines will transport every blanket made in South Africa to the Union Buildings for display. The blankets will then be returned to their places of origin in time to distribute to the needy.
Johannesburg: Cell C Waterfall Campus Walk-In Customer Care Store
Waterfall Campus, Corner Old Pretoria Road & Maxwell Drive, Buccleuch
Cape Town: Cell C Walk-In Customer Care Centre: Shop C5 UL, Canal Walk Shopping Mall, Corner Century Boulevard & Century City Drive, Century City, Cape Town
Port Elizabeth: Regional office, Cnr Cape and Greyville Road Greenacres.
East London: Cell C regional Office, Marine Terrace, The Esplanade Quiqney.
Bloemfontein: Regional Office, No 31 2nd Avenue
Durban: Cell C Regional Office, 6 Torsvale Crescent, Torsvale Park, La Lucia Ridge Umhlanga; KZN DBN Office, 111 Prince Alfred Street, and Durban KZN Call Centre, No 4 The Terrace Westway Office Park in Westville.
In addition to Cell C, the following organisations have generously supported the campaign: Airlink, Stuttafords Van Lines, Saprotex, Juandre Distributors and Huawei.