The Great Wilderness Knit-Off in Celebration of Nelson Mandela Day, South Africa

In celebration of Nelson Mandela Day, Bongani Baloyi (Children in the Wilderness Regional Programme Coordinator  and Wilderness Safaris Culture Coordinator) drove a knitting project in the Johannesburg Wilderness Safaris offices.

Nelson Mandela Day is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good. The office was encouraged to pick up a ball or two of wool and a pair of needles from Bongani, and had a good month to set to work on knitting scarves for the children at a day care centre in Alexandra Township.

On the 18th July, the Wilderness Safaris Lounge was buzzing with budding knitters. A few experienced knitters helped the novices cast their wool onto their needles (or, as was heard in said lounge “put the string on the sticks”). The idea was to celebrate together on Mandela Day, and it was wonderful to have a constant flow of knitters throughout the day. We even had a few gentlemen join in who took the task very seriously.

In the end, 115 scarves were knitted – an incredible show of kindness, generosity and love by all those involved. On the 19th July, Bongani Baloyi, Bokang Shopane (CITW), Christina Schaddach (Wilderness Safaris) and Lisa Witherden (CITW) visited Ntataise Day Care Centre and Mafube A Hosasa Orphanage Home in Alexandra to hand over the boxes of scarves. Patricia runs both of these centres, and is making a real impact by caring for the children in her community. Patricia, her team and the children welcomed us through singing, and were overjoyed with the beautiful scarves. There was great excitement as the the children called out all the different colours of the scarves as they came out of the boxes! Bongani said that “The children and their teachers loved the scarves – they did not want us to leave!”

See the full album below of the Children in the Wilderness and Wilderness Safaris Nelson Mandela Day celebrations.

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