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67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day celebrates a decade of Ubuntu



Last year 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day published a book of the same, which shows how the simple gift of a handmade blanket has had a profound effect on the lives of many.

What started as a simple challenge from Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant has become the award winning world renowned campaign, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day which celebrate a decade this year.

“I turned to social media to gather support  in meeting the target and 10 years later, this initiative has grown into a global movement mobilising thousands of active members in South Africa and around the world to crochet and knit blankets and scarves, demonstrating the true meaning of ‘Ubuntu’,” said 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela founder, Carolyn Steyn.

It was Mandela’s former personal assistant Zelda La Grange who challenged Steyn in 2013 to make the 67 blankets.

The movement has gone on to capture the attention of many South Africans and international celebrities as well as corporates and KnitWits for Madiba groups are active in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Cyprus, London, the USA, Ireland, Italy, and India.

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela won Campaign of the year at the South African of the Year Awards in October 2014.

To mark 21 years of democracy in South Africa, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day broke the Guinness World Record for the “The Largest Crochet Blanket in the World” measuring 3,377 square meters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

“Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day has turned into my entire world, and as we head towards our 10h year since inception, I would like to congratulate every Ambassador and the KnitWits for Madiba, on their amazing contributions over the years,” said Steyn.

“I wish that Madiba were still alive to witness this Knitting and Crochet Revolution in his name.”

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Madiba is smiling

Last year, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day published a book of the same name, in it the book shows how the simple gift of a handmade blanket has had a profound effect on the lives of many.

Accompanied by the story of Nelson Mandela’s life, the experiences and views of those who made the blankets are recorded, as well as those who received them and the many organisations and people who contributed to the project over the 10 years from December 2013 to 2022.

“It takes a very good idea to touch the hearts of thousands of people and promote action. Carolyn Steyn decided to make her contribution for Mandela Day by knitting 67 blankets,” said Madiba’s widow, Graça Machel in the preface of the book.

“Wherever Madiba is, he is smiling. First, because you are touching people he always cared for. Secondly, you are creating the rainbow nation with this impressive display which we enjoy today and which will be enjoyed by thousands of people tomorrow,” said Machel.

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