We have mixed feelings about Mandela Day around here, which takes place this Friday, 18 July. Not with the man being honoured, but with the time limit. Sixty-seven minutes may be enough time to do your grocery shopping but is it really enough time to make a lasting difference?
Nope, not really. But wouldn’t it be great if what starts as 67 minutes turned into 67 weeks, 67 days, and maybe even 67 years of someone giving their time to serve those around them? Now that seems more in tune with Madiba’s legacy.
So, here are 67 ideas of things you can do on Mandela Day, which we hope will inspire a lifestyle of compassion and service to communities and those in need around you.
1. Put together stationary packs (pens, stickers, coloured paper, scissors, etc.) for teachers at an under-resourced school.
2. Do a neighbourhood clean-up armed with plastic gloves and black bags.
4. Volunteer your time at a Haven Night Shelter.
5. Make ‘care kits’ (including a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, face cloth, etc. ) for patients at a nearby government hospital.
6. Throw a tea party for the children and carers at a children’s home.
7. Offer to mow the lawn and fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice.
8. Research an issue you’d like to find out more about and then share your findings with friends on social media.
9. Pack meals at Canal Walk for under-resourced pre-schools through Stop Hunger Now. (Register online)
10. Support local and visit the Department of Coffee in Khayalitsha for a cup of their finest brew.
11. As an office, make sandwiches to give to people living on the street – and why not sit and have lunch with them while you’re at it?
12. Organise a fun outing for children in an HIV/Aids programme.
13. Offer to read stories to children at a children’s home.
14. Learn First Aid.
15. Give blood. Find your nearest fixed donor site.
16. Become an organ donor
17. Host a dinner where the meal budget is R5 per person as a way of identifying with the millions who live below the poverty line.
18. Watch a free screening of “Long Walk to Freedom” at selected Ster Kinekor’s.
19. Set up a recycling system for your home.
20. Create a car pool schedule with your colleagues to cut down on carbon emissions.
21. Plant a garden or tree where the whole neighborhood can enjoy it.
22. Clean up a city park.
23. Go on a social media fast for the day and make an effort to get to know people who you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to.
24. Offer to fix things at a local school or organisation (paint, broken windows, etc).
25. Remove graffiti.
26. Help build a home with Habitat for Humanity‘s International Mandela Day Build Week.
27. Donate educational materials to Breadline Africa at the V&A Waterfront’s Clock Tower.
28. Walk instead of taking your car – and have conversations with some of the people you meet on your way.
29. Hold a teddy bear or book drive for a children’s home.
30. Take place in the 6.7km Fun Run/Walk/Cycle in support of New Kidz on The Block at Mooiplaas Wine Estate.
31. Organise a tea party for care givers.
32. Join the knit-a-thon at the Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel and Spa in support of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust.
33. Baby-sit for a single parent.
34. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
35. Adopt a pet from an animal shelter.
36. Donate books to your local library.
37. Collect and distribute children’s books to under-resourced schools.
38. Visit a reading club at a nearby school, church or library.
39. Donate magazines and books to an under-resourced home for the elderly.
40. Invite a carer to go on a relaxing outing to the beach or to a park for a picnic.
41. Throw a party for the residents of an old age home.
42. Mow the garden or clean the windows for a senior citizen.
43. Pick up groceries or medicine for an elderly person.
44. Go for a walk with a senior citizen in your community.
45. Teach someone how to use a computer and the Internet.
46. Tutor someone who needs help learning your mother tongue.
47. Donate your old computer to an under-resourced school.
48. Hold a mini-Olympics at an under-resourced school.
49. Take public transport for the day.
50. Give Beth Uriel a call and find out more about becoming a mentor or tutor for the year.
51. Offer to attend a high school class to talk to students about your career.
52. Find out more about the 9 week course to become a Lifeline/Childline counsellor.
53. Knit a blanket for someone in need.
54. Bake cookies and take them to a police station for the police officers.
55. Write a letter to a newspaper editor about an issue you care about.
56. Blog about a non-profit organisation that needs support.
57. Offer your skills (finance, marketing, customer service, etc.) to help an organisation run more efficiently.
58. Organise a prayer meeting with family and friends to pray for our country.
59. Host a movie night for friends. (Click here for a list of documentaries on social justice.)
60. Purchase U-turn vouchers to give to people living on the street.
61. Sign up for MySchool and donate to your favourite organisations every time you purchase something at Woolworths.
62. Make Hope bracelets in support of children living with disabilities at the Blue Route Mall, through the Chaeli Campaign.
63. Read the first 67 pages of Generous Justice by Tim Keller. (You’ll want to read the rest.)
64. Park your car and share lunch with a Big Issue seller.
65. Knit a Valuable to Jesus doll for Straatwerk.
66. Go through your house and donate some of your good quality items to a charity shop.
67. Make everyday Mandela Day!
Phew, we made it! Do you have any other ideas?