MANDELA DAY CELEBRATIONS CHANGE LIVES
By: Dale Munatswa
Durban City officials visited townships, schools and homes of the needy on Friday in efforts to improve the lives of people during the Mandela Day celebrations.
City officials including the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Senzo Mchunu, Durban Mayor James Nxumalo, MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube, MEC of Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo joined musicians and television personalities as part of the celebrations.
The all-day programme kicked off at King Dinizulu Park, where the Mayor and the MEC’s cleaned the area which had been occupied by vagrants, and planted trees. It extended to the adjacent Long Distance Taxi Rank where the city officials joined forces with the rank heads in cleaning the area.
Nxumalo urged people to actively participate in making their environment clean every day.
“Let’s make sure that Mandela Day becomes every day’s business where we all contribute in terms of charity work and we all make a difference in the ordinary lives of our people. People must do it for themselves because it is our responsibility that we clean our environment,” said Nxumalo.
Rank Marshal Wilson Kunene said he was grateful for the work that had been done by the city’s officials.
Proceeding with the programme, the officials joined the elderly at Chesterville Sports Centre in a fitness session. MEC of Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo described the exercises as significant to a person’s health, while giving reference to Mandela’s lifestyle.
Dhlomo said, “Nelson Mandela was a boxer, and for you to be successful in boxing you must exercise. Mandela lived long after 90 years of age. He exercised.”
He continued with the journey and painted classrooms at Ngilosi Junior Primary School where he was joined by the owners of China City Pavillion, the Lee Brothers, who also donated paint and brushes to the school.
Mchunu and Nxumalo officially handed over a five roomed house to the Khwela Family of Umlazi N-Section.
The house was built for the family courtesy of their daughter, Zandile Khwela who was being recognised for scoring a staggering seven distinctions in her matric examinations in 2012.
Zandile was overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement as she opened the doors to her new home.
“I am excited beyond measure; I can’t even explain how excited I am about receiving this special gift from the premier on Mandela Day. We have gained some dignity by receiving a house,” said Zandile.
The carnival ended at Ifikile Inhlanhla Hope Centre, home to disabled children who are fed and provided with a place to sleep. The Pavilion Mall management, Nando’s, and Dass Group partnered with eThekwini Municipality to donate foodstuffs, toys and a washing machine.
Director of the centre Fikile Lunga, said that the donations show that people listened to what Mandela said about taking care of one another.
“I am very happy that people recognise children with disabilities. I want to thank them all for giving to these children,” said Lunga.
This year’s Mandela Day marked the very first Mandela Day without Mandela, and it also marks the first efforts of South Africans to sustain his legacy.