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Make everyday a Mandela Day – GCIS DG

Given the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, South Africans have been encouraged to make everyday a Mandela Day, by assisting those in need within their communities.

Speaking to SAnews, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director-General, Phumla Williams, said that ideally everyday should be a Mandela day where all South Africans can have something to do in lending a helping hand in their communities.

“When one sees a child who is in need and has something to contribute, they should do so. One can make soup and package it in containers and donate to the less fortunate. There is a lot that we can do on a daily basis.

“Around the issue of gender-based violence we always say people should not look away. If you are aware of someone that is in distress you must reach out and show them that there is a way out,” Williams said on Monday.

GCIS officials, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development today joined South Africans and the international community in observing International Mandela Day by helping better their community.

This year’s International Nelson Mandela Day is celebrated under the global theme: “Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.”

The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009 and is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact.

Led by the Director-General (DG), the officials spent the day at Leamogetswe Safety Home in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, that provides safe accommodation to 82 vulnerable children, the majority of whom are those at risk of abuse.

Leamogetswe also offers direct and indirect services to needy families around the community and offers a range of services including residential care for homeless children and young people irrespective of colour or creed that are in need care.

The two departments donated garden tools along with baking essentials and started a vegetable garden by planting seedlings.

The DG said that GCIS adopted the centre two years ago before they were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ensuring a better future

She said that some of the reasons that made the department adopt the centre is that it strongly believes that the future is in the hands of the children.

“If we don’t do something, these kids will never get a second chance. As GCIS, we will continue to adopt this centre because we believe they are the future centres for the South Africa that we want.

“One of the things that pleases me is that the highest number of children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds are males, which then puts pressure on us that we create better men within a country that is faced with the scourge of gender-based violence.

“We will adopt the centre with information that empowers a young boy to know how to navigate relationships as they grow because that is where it goes wrong, most of the time they cannot negotiate relationships with other genders,” the DG said.

As the country marks this day, Williams said people must remember Madiba’s words when he said, “it is all in your hands” and continue to reflect on the challenges that continue to face us as a country and think of what we are contributing.

“As GCIS we are using this day to also ask ourselves a question of what are we going to do with what we have in a place. What we have said is that here is an NGO that is dealing with children who are coming from underprivileged backgrounds.

“We have dug [into] our pockets and managed to contribute in putting together a vegetable garden, and with this, we are saying they should have something to eat; we want to leave them with something sustainable,” she said.

Donations

Dr Jemina Moeng from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said that Mandela Day must be an everyday event so that we remember those faced with the challenges of poverty, inequality and discrimination.

“We came here on the invite of the GCIS DG. I am grateful that we were invited and as the department we are now aware that there is a lot of land that can be utilised here at the home which we will be assisting going forward.

“We have donated wheelbarrows, spades and seedlings so that the seedlings can be planted and the home has food security. These homes play an important role in society, so we need to support them throughout,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of Leamogetswe Safety Home, Nozizwe Ntsele, social auxiliary worker said that they were grateful to GCIS and social partners who donated all the things that were donated to the home.

“As a home we are really happy, we appreciate the support we have received from government and social partners and individual well-wishers. We do not have a dedicated sponsor that has adopted the home, so we rely on subsidy from the department of Social Development.

“For us this is a big deal and we appreciate the support we received today and we are looking forward to a continued relationship with all departments,” she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency