July 18th is a special day in the South African calendar. On the birthday of Nelson Mandela, the father of the modern nation, everyone across the country is encouraged to give 67 minutes of their time to projects in their local communities. The significance of the number 67 relates to the 67 years that Mandela spent in the service of his country as an activist, leader and president. The day has become formally known as Mandela Day and is recognised by businesses, workplaces, schools and national organisations across the country. This year’s commemoration comes at a sensitive time for the Mandela family as the former president remains critically ill in a Pretoria hospital.
For Mandela Day in Masiphumelele, Masicorp were delighted to welcome a group from the SA Navy to Masi Educare, one of the many pre-schools in the thriving township. Based in Simons Town – just a few miles from Masiphumelele – the majority of the Navy staff live locally on the Peninsula. Despite the inclement winter weather a group of around 30 Navy staff arrived, keen to help where they could and were quickly put to work. Repairs to a leaking roof in a storage room were the first task but there was also gardening work in the schools vegetable plot and the preparation of interior walls that are due to be painted.
Masicorp have a remit to assist the pre-school with their move towards official government registration, which will allow them to receive a daily subsidy for each child and confirm the schools sustainability. With 3,000 children across Masiphumelele relying on pre-schooling for their early development locations such as Masi Educare provide a crucial service. If they can be registered with the state that service will be guaranteed going forward. The help of the Navy was therefore much appreciated by Masicorp and we hope to be working together again in the future as South Africans strive to make every day a “Mandela Day”.