IN the midst of all our various troubles and challenges, it was remarkable and encouraging to see how well Mandela Day was supported by the people of Ndlambe.
TotT received calls from as far as Alexandria about Mandela Day projects happening on Wednesday, as communities, businesses and organisations rallied to put in their 67 minutes of service, or even more, in honour of former president Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday and his call for South Africans to offer service on that day.
We were not able to attend every single project happening, but we have asked people to send in photographs and news about what service they did on Mandela Day, so we can carry more pictures next week (see page 11).
Among the projects we did attend were a clean-up of Thornhill housing development initiated by Ndlambe's directorate of community protection services and carried out by a group of about 30 pupils from Kuyasa Combined School.
Each child was provided with latex gloves and a refuse bag and advised by the deputy director of community protection services, Fanie Fouche, on how to pick up any litter without risking their own safety.
Assisted and overseen by officials from nature conservation, the traffic department and fire department, the children set about the task with relish, each wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Mandela's face.
Another clean-up took place in Station Hill, this time by the Port Alfred Primere Skool Grade 9 science class led by senior phase head of department Mark Bouah.
The pupils focused on picking up litter in the area surrounding the school grounds as a means of giving back to the community. Bouah said it was also a good way of showing pupils what can be recycled.
Among the businesses who did 67 minutes of service, Harcourts properties visited the elderly residents of Damant Lodge where they all sang happy birthday to Madiba, then shared tea and cake and had a sing-along.
One of the biggest coordinated projects in Port Alfred was led by Pick n Pay, which last week invited other businesses to take part in a food and clothing drive for the needy. Pick n Pay offered their van to go business to business on Mandela Day to collect all donations.
TotT also joined in this effort and commend Pick n Pay for the initiative, which was incredibly well-supported.
We have never before seen such wide support for Mandela Day. Well done, people of Ndlambe, you have done Madiba proud.
- Jon Houzet