Celebrating Mandela Day can be done is a variety of different ways but the core motivation is the same, give 67 minutes of our time helping humanity in honour of a man who gave 67 years of his life fighting for human rights and a better country for us all. Top Billing presenter Lorna Maseko met up with a group of people from different walks of life who share two common passions. One, the feeling of the freedom and the wind whipping past them as they cruise the open road and two, the love of a man who has given so much of his life to help so many. Join Lorna as she is invited on a part of the journey of the Bikers For Mandela Day trip and find out more about who was involved, and what they did along the way.
About Bikers For Mandela Day:
Bikers For Mandela Day will donate 67 minutes of time at seven rural community projects along a more than 2 200 kilometre route over a week.
This was announced by the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) today just days ahead of the departure of between 23 & 26 riders and 15 support staff from Montecasino in Johannesburg on Monday.
Included in the group of riders are businesspeople, professional bike riders, and celebrities – among them 5fm’s DJ Fresh and Angie Khumalo from 5fm and Metro FM; singer Bok Van Blerk; Survivor SA: Maldives winner and Binnelanders actor, Hykie Berg; actress Hanna Grobler and actors Ivan Zimmerman (Egoli) Darren Kelfkens (7de laan and Isidingo) and Jack Devnarain (Isidingo).
The initiative, which sets off on Mandela Monday July 11th, is part of the NMF’s Nelson Mandela Day activities for 2011. Bikers For Mandela Day acts as an inspiration for individuals around the world to donate 67 minutes of their time to give back in service to communities. The activities for the 2011 Bikers For Mandela Day have been selected for their long-term impact and direct benefit on the lives of those involved. This year’s ride additionally sets off and returns on Mandela Monday (July 11th and July 18th respectively), reinforcing the new NMF activity that asks individuals worldwide to give a small amount of their time every week to do a good deed to benefit their fellow human beings, the community or the environment in which they live.
The first stop-off for Bikers For Mandela Day is on Monday July 11th in Harrismith where the bikers will restore the playground equipment and paint the Jungle Gym for a children’s home.
From there, on July 12th, the group will clean the monument and create a garden, including the planting of the ‘Mandela Gold’ Strelitzia at the site in Howick where Nelson Mandela was captured in 1962.
The next day (July 13th) Bikers For Mandela Day heads for Eshowe were they will install shelves in the food storeroom and assist with food preparation and the upgrade of the vegetable garden at a school and drop in-orphanage.
Jozini is next (July 14th) where Bikers For Mandela Day will work with several different community organisations in a soup kitchen as well as repair and improve the house of a child-headed household.
In addition to the work at the Howick capture site, one of the more poignant moments on the Bikers For Mandela Day 2011 trip will be when the group lays a symbolic wreath at Samora Machel’s Memorial site in Mbuzini on July 15th after their journey through Swaziland to Mbombela (Nelspruit).
Then on July 16th, Bikers For Mandela Day will work with the Nelspruit community Forum to restore a care-centre house for orphans; provide school uniforms and clothing for a House for homeless children and upgrade a playground at a disability centre in Hazyview.
On the 17th, the bikers will visit an orphanage in Graskop where the group will create a vegetable garden from scratch. The final stop on the Bikers for Mandela Day 8 day route will be a children’s home in Belfast where a much needed upgrade of the bedrooms and bathrooms for the children will be undertaken prior to the final stretch to Pretoria. Reflecting on the activities for 2011, Sello Hatang of the NMF said “The activities which will be undertaken by the bikers, provide a good sample of what people can possibly do in their own communities in order to better the lives of others. The bike riders went through very bad weather along the way in 2010 and their unshaken commitment to the campaign is laudable.
We hope people along the route and those following the ride will take inspiration from this example and live the Mandela Day ethos before and beyond the 18th and thereby help Make Every Day a Mandela Day.” At all stops along the Bikers For Mandela Day route, the local municipality as well as metro police and SAPS will provide additional support, which is deeply appreciated.
Bikers For Mandela Day 2011 support staff includes NMF staffers as well as veterinarian, Dr Kobus van der Merwe who will be educating communities and treating animals at the community stop-offs with the support of sponsors. The health risks for children of neglected animals will be explained by the veterinarian. In addition, a Soul City representative will hand out pamphlets at each venue and explain HIV/Aids issues to children and workers at projects along the route.
“We are incredibly grateful to the support team for giving up their time to enable the riders to focus on the 400 or so kilometres a day ride as well as the work at each community project,” says NMF’s Zelda la Grange, who is part of the group of riders and organizing this initiative for the second year.
“We also could not attempt this without the help of community organisations in the places where we are stopping, as well as the local police and town officials. Our main sponsors Spar and Vodacom must also be thanked along with all the additional sponsors and supporters whose help is playing such an invaluable role in our trip this year. The support from others not only turns Mandela Day into a reality for us but also for those lives we will touch along the way.”
Bikers For Mandela Day 2011 also includes two ways in which Gauteng-based individuals can contribute to and share in this community-spirited initiative.
Following the success of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in June 2008, it was decided that there could be nothing more fitting than to celebrate Mr Mandela’s birthday each year with a day dedicated to his life’s work and that of his charitable organisations, and to ensure his legacy continues forever.
The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community.
Mandela Day is a call to action for individuals – for people everywhere – to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mr Mandela did.