On 18 July, South Africans of all stripes had the opportunity to set aside any misgivings they may have about the political present and celebrate the memory of the statesman who once led us all from the darkness of apartheid into the promise of a bright future. Nelson Mandela International Day – or simply Mandela Day – is celebrated each year on the iconic leader’s birthday, encouraging people to make the world a better place by devoting 67 minutes of their time to some small act of kindness or service to others.
Techno Park joined in the Mandela Day goodness this year by playing host to an initiative organised by Community Keepers, a local nonprofit company that provides psychological and social services to learners at schools. Focusing on marginalised communities, Community Keepers aims to provide psycho-social services free of charge, extending the crucial benefits of mental health care to children who would not otherwise be able to afford the high costs of private practice services.
In the spirit of participation that characterises Mandela Day, Community Keepers partnered with Total Revolution Fitness, Techno Park’s own boutique gym, to offer a real sweat-and-muscle activity: “67 Burpees for Change” (if, like me, you did not know what a burpee is, here is a useful instructional video). Teams from various local companies (Team Entersekt, Team UHS and Team Buttanut) competed in a challenge that required each participant to do 67 burpees to raise funds for psycho-social services for children.
Each participant donated R100 for the challenge, which is the cost of delivering a therapy, assessment or counselling session to one child. In conjunction with another Community Keepers event held in Cape Town at the same time, more than R10 000 was raised. This means that over 100 at-risk children will receive professional psycho-social care, thanks in no small part to the enthusiastic burpee-performing efforts of the Techno Park community.
In addition to the mental and social health benefits of the money raised for Community Keepers’ work, Team Buttanut also came to the party by donating some of their clean and wholesome “squeeze packs” to children in need.
* Another Techno Park establishment, the Protea Hotel by Marriot in Techno Avenue, participated in the spirit of Mandela Day by partnering with the Mudita Foundation to donate gift packs to children at the Kylemore crèche, including something to help them stay warm during the winter.
Do you have your own story to tell about something you or your company has done for Mandela Day? We’d love to hear about it. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, as we slip back into our everyday routines and anxieties, remember that it is easy to become a part of a world in which our actions mean something to others. All we need to do is look around us and help where we can, improving our society bit by bit.