By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
“During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Mountain at its magnificent silhouette … To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.” – Nelson Mandela
On Wednesday July 18 the world celebrated the Nelson Mandela International Day. And Cape Town is one of the cities that is fast investing on this day which has already made a positive contributions to many lives.
Cape Town is one of the places that children are being groomed to follow in the footsteps of this global icon. Tata Mandela committed 67 years of his life fighting injustices.
And Cape Town being the gateway to the Western Cape Province and in turn the Gateway to Africa, saw the Western Cape Investment & Trade Promotion Agency (Wesgro) hosting 45 children from 3 of our regions at the Aids Response Wellness Foundation in Observatory, an NGO that provides support and care to those who care for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Whether home-based, clinical or pastoral, caregivers are central to all strategies aimed at combating HIV and AIDS. Little attention is paid to supporting and sustaining these caregivers, and Aids Response plays a pivotal role in caring for the caregiver.
Nils Flaatten, Wesgro CEO said: “The children and our staff spent some time cleaning and painting their facility, learning about the work of the caregivers and getting to know the importance of the role they play in the communities they serve. I am particularly touched by these caregivers because we are giving 67 minutes of our time on this one day but they give 6 – 7 days of their lives every day! The 3 regions represented here today are West Coast, Karoo and Winelands. Not here are the Overberg, Cape Town and Garden Route.”
Stemming from the morning’s activities, the children were tasked with going back into their own communities to find projects of their own, which they can support.
Along with our corporate sponsor, Old Mutual, next year we will go into the regions and visit these projects, to see the difference they have made and the lessons they have learnt. This Wesgro CSI event will grow into an annual project.
Flaatten added that the children should “steal with the eye and learn that by doing small things with love you can achieve a lot.” He encouraged the children to become leaders when they go back to their communities and to try and touch the lives of those closest to them. He went on to say that we should try to give 67 mins more often than on Madiba’s birthday.
The Royal Hospital School, from the UK joined us by providing entertainment and joined in the activities of the day. While on tour in South Africa, the group visited Johannesburg and Durban before ending their trip in Cape Town.
Rob Mann, from Royal Hospital School, commented, “It is indeed a privilege and an honour to be spending our last week of our cultural tour of South Africa in Cape Town. We have learnt a great deal about the Western Cape, its cultures and people. We would like to share some of our knowledge with you and we will be back.”
The group arrived on 2nd and will be leaving on 20th July 2012 and will be leaving behind a few of their instruments for our children in the regions, which will go a long way to promoting music and cultural appreciation.