South Africa

18 July 2020

How to lend a helping hand on Mandela Day

How to lend a helping hand on Mandela Day
Volunteers clean a stretch of land and the heavily polluted Black River in Cape Town during their 67 minutes of social service during Nelson Mandela International Day in 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Nic Bothma)

Mandela Day this year comes in the midst of a ‘triple pandemic’. Not only is SA at the peak of its Covid-19 infections, but unemployment and hunger are ravaging the nation. The need is overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the organisations and initiatives you can contribute to on July 18 and beyond.

2020 marks the 11th year since the UN declared Nelson Mandela’s birthday as Nelson Mandela International Day or Mandela Day, a day where corporates and communities come together to do good for 67 minutes.

“This is a day that is generally marked by placing emphasis on active citizenship. It is about taking the legacy of former President Nelson Mandela forward, for a more equal and socially just society,” said the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation in a statement.

They, for example, ran a #FixOurDemocracy campaign which called on citizens to make suggestions on how to reform the state and ensure ethical leadership.

The 67 minutes dedicated to Mandela Day represent the number of years Mandela spent fighting for liberation. The day, which is a call for action, for people to change the world in whatever big or small way for the better, has sometimes been criticised as being a once-off feel-good project for privileged people.

Mpho Masienyane-Khauoe, who runs an NGO, Lintle Community Awakening in Pretoria, isn’t too concerned about whether Mandela Day is a PR stunt for privileged people, “because on that day it brings in resources to small NGOs like mine that we’ve been struggling to get for months. There’s a woman who runs a home for disabled people, she got R6,000 for Mandela Day for her home,” Masienyane-Khauoe told Daily Maverick.

At an event to commemorate Mandela’s legacy, his wife Graça Machel told guests that we shouldn’t “look at Mandela Day as an event that we will be part of every year. We need to look at it as a pledge for the whole year that goes beyond one’s daily activities.”

Masienyane-Khauoe also thinks that Mandela Day should be an everyday pledge.

“In the NGO space, we want to make every day a Mandela Day. I don’t see Mandela Day ever losing its significance because it’s what we’re doing on a daily basis and it’s important work that we’re doing,” said Masienyane-Khauoe.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers, said Mandela signified everything about “service”, “sacrifice” and “forgiveness”. In the same spirit, he urged South Africans to give to absolutely anyone in need, even those who may appear privileged but have been financially crippled by the pandemic.

“Covid-19 didn’t discriminate,” he said. “It just went for everybody. It levelled the game, and to deal with this challenge we have to be the same way.”

Identifying hunger as the main issue, Sooliman said we should “give to the people we know”.

“But do it in a respectful way that they don’t feel like a beggar.”

Pamela Silwana from the Gugulethu Community Action Network (CAN) is spending her Mandela Day renovating the home of an unemployed single mother who’s been diagnosed with cancer.

“We’ll be painting, putting in taps, the whole renovation. We’ll also be assisting her in getting her medical help through my connection with the Sea Point CAN.”

She’s also part of a drive giving away 260 blankets to elderly women in Gugulethu.

With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting people’s freedom of movement, she suggested a few ways people can help without spreading infection. Regarding areas in the Western Cape that were hit hard by recent storms and flooding, she said donating building materials would help those in need.

“People’s houses are halfway full of water. People don’t actually have to be there but can buy sand or fencing just to ensure that people in the less fortunate areas are taken care of.”

To ensure that you’re giving to a legitimate cause, and not being scammed, Sooliman makes three suggestions:

  • It’s better to give to an organisation than to an individual;
  • When donating money to a charity make sure the bank account is in the organisation’s name and not the name of an individual; and
  • Make sure the organisation is registered with the Department of Social Development (the registration number should be available on the website).

He also suggests choosing a cause that’s “close to your heart” and then finding an organisation in your community to contribute to while following the three steps above to ensure its legitimacy.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation compiled a list of a few other ways to help such as:

  • Putting together stationery packs (pens, stickers, coloured paper, scissors, etc) for teachers at an under-resourced school.
  • Doing a neighbourhood clean-up armed with plastic gloves and black bags.
  • Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter.
  • Make “care kits” (including a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, facecloth, etc) for patients at a nearby government hospital.
  • Give blood.

If you’re looking for organisations and initiatives to contribute to, we’ve compiled a list. There are of course myriad other ways to give back.

Buy a cup of coffee for NG Welfare

NG Welfare is the Dutch Reformed Church’s welfare organisation. They operate in North West and Gauteng. They offer child protection programmes and elderly care services. For Mandela Day you can buy a coffee at one of the participating coffee shops in North West and Gauteng (see social media for list) and add an extra R5 to your bill, per coffee. Each R5 will go towards changing the lives of the most vulnerable on their caseload. For more details visit their Facebook page.

Green Door shelter for GBV survivors

The Green Door is the only shelter for gender-based violence survivors in Diepsloot, a township in Johannesburg. Green Door is raising funds to support survivors who can’t afford to leave their abusers. The organisation plans to provide food, clothing and baby supplies for survivors.

Make a donation of non-perishable foodstuffs, clothing or baby necessities like nappies and formula. There is a drop-off point at Witkoppen Clinic in Fourways. Alternatively, arrangements can be made to fetch the items from you. To reduce physical contact, consider a cash donation or purchase a grocery voucher for their clients.

These are their banking details:

Diepsloot Victim Lifeline
Account number: 62764675214
Branch code: 250655
Paypal: [email protected]

Gateway Shopping Mall, Jar of Hope

Gateway Shopping Mall and Robinhood Foundation will be giving out jars filled with rice, soup and lentils for Mandela Day. (Image supplied)

Gateway, together with the Robinhood Foundation, is asking its shoppers and the community at large to donate a Jar of Hope. Those interested can fill any glass jar with ½ cup of rice, ½ cup of soup, ½ cup of lentils, one unwrapped stocked cube and one packet of soup powder. One jar can feed up to four people.

A collection point is set up at Gateway Shopping Mall’s information desk until 6 pm on 31 July. Completed jars can be placed into the collection boxes provided and will be distributed by the Robinhood Foundation to a catchment area close to the mall.

Kolisi Foundation – Each1Feed1

The Kolisi Foundation will be providing food to communities through the #Each1Feed1 initiative. A R100 donation can provide food support to one individual for a month. Contributions can be made via their website.

Centre for Early Childhood Development – SnapScan Mandela Day Drive-by

The Centre for Early Childhood Development is raising funds for PPE for ECDs on the Cape Flats. (Image: supplied)

The Centre for Early Childhood Development has a #PPEforECD campaign, to support struggling ECD centres on the Cape Flats that need personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to reopen.

“PPE is a huge barrier for reopening and without ECD centres open, young children are left vulnerable with parents returning to work,” reads their statement.

Donations in the form of PPE, SnapScan or cash can be made on Saturday, 18 July, from 10-12 pm, at 20 Rosmead Avenue, Claremont, Cape Town (CECD offices). For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Ladles of Love – sandwich-making world record bid

For Mandela Day, Ladles of Love will try to make a record-breaking 125,000 sandwiches in an hour. (Photo supplied)

Ladles of Love, which feeds homeless people in Cape Town, is attempting to make 125,000 sandwiches in an hour on Mandela Day. Participants can register for a free sandwich-making kit consisting of five loaves of Sasko bread and a 900g tin of Rhodes Quality jam which can be collected from your nearest depot between 9am and 5pm on Friday 17 July. Sandwiches are then dropped off at one of 13 depots across the Cape Peninsula between 11am and 1pm on Saturday.

Sign up here for a free sandwich-making kit.


MySchool has compiled a list of organisations to donate to. They include buying a book for R67 or a shelf of books for R670 for Kids Haven. Donations can be made via SnapScan or via EFT. Click here to see more organisations to donate to.

Lintle Community Awakening soup kitchen

Lintle Community Awakening is raising funds for their soup kitchen in Pretoria. For more details, go to their social media page.

SA Harvest & Chefs with Compassion – 67,000 litres of soup

Three hundred chefs will be preparing 268,000 cups of soup for poverty-stricken communities across the country. (Photo supplied)

Three hundred chefs under the banner of SA Harvest and Chefs with Compassion are preparing 268,000 cups of soup for poverty-stricken communities in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Bloemfontein, Mokopane, Rustenburg, Vereeniging, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit. It costs R10 per meal. You can make a donation here.

Campaign for reduced availability of alcohol

A number of organisations such as South Africans Against Drunk Driving, the Teddy Bear Foundation, Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance and others are planning events in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and George. The Mandela Day events will be displays of 67 teddy bears with messaging about how the reduction of alcohol availability can have favourable outcomes. Once the exhibition is over, the teddy bears will be donated to a hospital, clinic, children’s home or women’s shelter and the banners used for ongoing advocacy. For information on how to join the campaign email: [email protected]

Care packs for waste collectors in Gauteng

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (Pamsa) and Fibre Circle, a producer responsibility organisation for the paper and paper packaging sector, will be providing care packs which have soap, face masks, food vouchers, children’s activity packs and blankets to 1,500 informal waste collectors in the Industria, Springs and Tshwane areas in Gauteng. People can donate R300 for a care pack on Backabuddy.

Donate data or rechargeable lamps for matriculants

Phakamani Young Minds Academy is a Johannesburg-based NGO that provides mentorship and academic support for learners. For Mandela Day, they’re asking for donations ranging from data for the matriculants that they assist to rechargeable lamps for them to use for studying. Donations can be made to:

Account Name: Phakamani Young Minds Academy
Bank: First National Bank
Account Number: 62632351756
Branch Code: 250655

Donate to the Khayelitsha Shack Art School and Theatre

The Khayelitsha Shack Art School and Theatre is raising funds through Backabuddy for their soup kitchen which feeds 300 children and adults daily. The funds will also go towards buying building materials to rebuild three shacks on Mandela Day.

U-Turn Homeless Ministries

The pandemic has had a profound impact on the homeless. U-Turn Homeless Ministries is a Cape Town-based organisation helping individuals living on the streets with rehabilitation, skills training and employment opportunities. U-Turn has three priority projects you can contribute to Cold Front Sleepers, Christ Church Kenilworth accommodation and expanding their training centre. Check out their website for more information.

The National Homeless Network

The National Homeless Network is a movement that brings together over a dozen organisations in eight cities across South Africa. To see the list of shelters in the network and how you can assist, click here.

The Homestead

The Homestead assists children living on the streets through various programmes including shelter, prevention and early intervention, a street outreach and drop-in centre, the LaunchPad youth transitional project. To find out more about these projects and how you can contribute, visit their website. DM/MC

NOTE: This list is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start. Find out what initiatives are taking place in your area and contribute. Remember to verify that the cause is legitimate.


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options