Safmariners Celebrate International Mandela Day
By Pritha Dey
Safmariners in South Africa were among thousands of volunteers around the world who supported the fourth Nelson Mandela International Day as they celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday on July 18, 2012, by assisting communities in need.
In Johannesburg, Safmariners and their customer, Merisol, spent more than 67 minutes – one minute for every year Mr Mandela dedicated to the fight for social justice – painting classrooms and planting lemon trees at Khensani School in Shoshanguve in Gauteng while Safmariners in Cape Town joined the SA Post Office in planting 50 indigenous trees at the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy BMX Oval in Khayelitsha near Cape Town.
Both Khensani Primary School and Velokhaya are Safmarine ‘Containers in the Community’ programmes. The programme entails the conversion of decommissioned seafreight containers into infrastructure such as schools, classrooms, libraries and computer centres. Safmarine pioneered the use of shipping containers for community upliftment purposes when it launched the award winning ‘Containers in the Community’ programme 20 years ago, in July 1992. Since then, more than 8000 shipping containers have been used in more than 3000 projects in South Africa and Africa.
According to Patricia Simons, Safmarine South Africa PR and CSI Manager, “Decommissioned shipping containers are converted as part of Safmarine’s continued focus on helping to address poverty and inequality in South Africa by getting involved in educational projects that support skills transformation and education.”
According to Monde Mpongoshe, Velokhaya’s CEO, “Mandela Day not only celebrates Nelson Mandela’s life, but is also a global call to action for people to recognise their ability to have a positive effect on others around them. The Safmariners’ enthusiasm and spirit was very inspiring and certainly had a positive effect on the children in our programme.”
The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. Individuals and organisations are free to participate in Mandela Day as they wish but are urged to adhere to the ethical framework of “service to one’s fellow human”.