What will you be doing for Mandela Day
What are doing for Mandela Day
  • Mandela Day is usually a time when people come together
  • But, for the past two years, Covid-19 has meant this hasn't been possible. Then riots broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
  • Although some organisations are still looking for volunteers, there are several ways to get involved without leaving your home or at most visiting your local supermarket.
  • Whether you want to donate funds directly, contribute by watching, or participating in a live event, or volunteer your skills, here are some ways to get involved this Mandela Day.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Mandela Day, which falls on Sunday, 18 July this year, is traditionally a time when South Africans come together, share a physical space, and help those in need for at least 67 minutes. But, for the second year running, the Covid-19 pandemic has scuppered plans for South Africans to gather and help others - at least in person. Then riots broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng just days before the 2021 edition.

Although it's not currently possible to join others in traditional Mandela Day tasks like knitting blankets, making and distributing food parcels, and painting and stocking school libraries, there are still organisations undertaking such philanthropic tasks - and they need support now more than ever. Some will accept in-person donations, and others are taking on socially distanced volunteers. But, there are also several ways to help out this Mandela Day without leaving the safety of your home.

Make a direct financial donation

Most non-profit organisations have set up payment gateways to accept financial donations - either once-off or recurring. The best place to look for these is on the organisation's website, or on donor sites like GivenGain and Backabuddy.

It's also possible to make financial donations towards specific causes. For example, for just R75 you can buy a bed for five nights for a homeless person, or for R100 buy five cans of food that will go towards a world record attempt and feed the hungry. 

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is also raising funds for food packs that will support families for three months.

Donate while you shop

Some supermarkets and retailers will take financial donations directly at till points. 

Both Pick n Pay and the Shoprite Group launched initiatives at the start of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown to help improve food security and provide essential items and support to those in need. 

Pick n Pay's Feed the Nation foundation allows shoppers to donate money to help feed someone this Mandela Day - and it's also possible to convert and donate Smart Shopper points towards the cause.

The Shoprite Group's Act for Change fund accepts donations at Checkers, Shoprite, and Usave till points. Contributions to this fund will go to organisations making change on the ground in the specific regions where shoppers make the donations.

The MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet campaign allows shoppers to nominate a cause that will receive a percentage of their spend at several leading retailers - most popularly Woolworths - at no additional cost. The campaign encourages people to sign up and nominate an organisation as part of their contribution to Mandela Day.

Join an online quiz

Africa Food for Thought supports feeding schemes at 15 schools and is hosting an online quiz as its Mandela Day initiative. The quiz lasts 67 minutes and costs R67 per person to enter. It will give teams of up to four the opportunity to compete virtually against the reigning champions.

Watch a comedy show

Cotlands has partnered with a selection of top South African comedians to perform a virtual 67 minute event on Mandela Day. The show features Angel Campey, Chester Missing, Dalin Oliver, Kagiso KG Mokgadi, Mel Jones, Rob Van Vuuren and Stuart Taylor. The Laugh for Change event will be live streamed at 8pm on Saturday 17 July, and tickets cost R100 per device.

Cover and catalogue books from home

The Bookery has the objective of putting a library into every school in South Africa. To date, they have done so at 85 schools, and have distributed 300,000 books across the country. They need financial donations - but those who wish to donate time can do so by volunteering to cover and catalogue books, either from their office or at home.

Volunteer to help with business plans and training manuals

Volunteer website For Good has several opportunities listed for people with relevant skills to donate their time. For example, a non-profit organisation is currently looking for assistance in drafting a business plan; another is looking for someone to help develop remote skills training modules to continue assisting those in need throughout lockdown. Several others, like The Academy for Adults with Autism, are simply looking for assistance in the form of signing up for a newsletter or sharing news and events via social media platforms.

Game for Good

Givengain is encouraging gamers and live streamers to set up a fundraising project using their platform, and then pick up their controllers and live stream the event under the campaign hashtag #GameForGood

GivenGain then provides registered users with a live-streaming widget plugin that allows gamers to broadcast any activity, show incoming donations in real-time, and thank the donors.

Become an organ or bone marrow donor

Blood donations are still a critical need around the county, and centres are still safely accepting donors throughout the pandemic from those able and willing to do so. This will require you to visit a donor centre near you

But it's also possible to register as an organ and bone marrow donor without leaving your home. 

Organ donors can register directly on the Organ Donor Foundation website

Anyone between the ages of 16 and 45 can add their name to the national bone marrow registry on the South African Bone Marrow Registry website. Successful applicants will then need to submit a cheek swab - but this can be dispatched and returned via courier without the need to visit a depot in person.

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