Lynn Williams, Liam May, Jessica Holdsworth, Madien van der Merwe and Bianca Nkomo
THE Friendly City showed just how friendly it could be yesterday when residents from around the Bay did their bit for Mandela Day. The Bay residents joined thousands from around the world who donated at least 67 minutes of their time to those less fortunate than themselves.
The do-gooders – including sports stars, politicians and children – visited schools, old age facilities, hospitals and other facilities in need.
Former Proteas cricketer Makhaya Ntini joined Airports Company South Africa staff at Alfonso Arries Primary School in Booysen Park where they rolled up their sleeves to improve the school grounds.
The volunteers beefed up the school’s vegetable garden with an irrigation system, created a play area for Grade R pupils and donated netball posts and other portable sports equipment.
They also gave each of the 783 pupils a new school jersey, a pair of school shoes and socks and treated the pupils to a hearty meal of samp, beans and meat.
Hillside Senior Secondary School pupils and teachers spent their time volunteering at the Allan Hendrickse Old Age Home in Korsten.
The school choir entertained residents with songs and poems before handing out gift packs containing a blanket, face cloth, socks and bag of sweet treats.
Teacher Vanessa Fember said: "This is the first year that we have done something to celebrate Mandela Day. Albeit small, we are determined to grow the trend in future.”
In Zwide, a group of about 20 paediatric nurses cleaned up the Dora Nginza Hospital grounds where they picked up more than 50 bags of litter.
The Uitenhage and Despatch Development Initiative fed 60 homeless people living on the streets of Uitenhage.
"I am happy. This means a lot to me. I can’t even remember the last time I had a proper meal,” Listen Japhta, 24, said.
The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex erected a 5m by 6m birthday card which 10000 residents signed.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the National Department of Corporate governance joined forces to fix five dilapidated houses in the Kuyga area.
Julia Makhaya watched in silence while her home was being transformed.
Volunteers painted, installed an electricity meter, new wiring, put in new windows, fixed the plumbing and cleaned the garden.
An unemployed Makhaya said she was "happy” because she had "nothing”.
KwaDwesi ward 36 councillor Nomonde Mhlobiso and ANC councillor Nomvuselelo Tontsi organised a get-together for female senior citizens at the Henry Fazzie Hall, dubbed "birthday cake and champagne for Mandela”.
Each guest was given a mug with Madiba’s picture and a face towel.
Members of ward 5 in the central business district used the time to raise awareness around HIV and Aids by handing out condoms and pamphlets. They also spoke to sex workers in the area about the dangers of unprotected sex.
"Nobody seems to take HIV seriously anymore and it is killing our people,” ANC ward 5 committee member Phumla Citeko said.
Executive mayor Zanoxolo Wayile addressed volunteers who cleaned up Enkuselweni Place of Safety – a safe house for abused children.
Animals were not forgotten although Animal Anti-Cruelty League field workers – who dipped stray dogs in Kleinskool yesterday – said every day was Mandela Day.