18 July marks the birthday of the late great Nelson Mandela. It has also become an international day of giving 67 minutes of your time doing something good. On Mandela Day this year, I visited the Madibatlou Middle Farm School in Olifantsfontein, where client Stefanutti Stocks Civils was revamping some of the classrooms and school infrastructure. This particular school doesn’t charge any school fees, and currently caters to 1 800 scholars. It was established in 1972 and has a really interesting history…
I interviewed some of the folk there who had spend the morning painting, sanding, sweeping or whatever other task they’d been allocated. Everyone was incredibly upbeat, enthusiastic and motivated to do more. I also chatted to Mercy, a subcontractor who’d been on site for over a week doing some of the emergency repairs. She and her team were just as committed, and everyone was excited to find out what the kids would think of their revamped classrooms once they returned to them.
Finally I spent some time chatting to parents and teachers, who had also been ‘all hands on deck’. I was probably basking a little in the reflected warm and fuzzy feeling that is an often unexpected reward of giving, when one of the dad’s reminded me of another aspect of the day. He said that Mandela Day was not only a day of giving, but also one of setting an example for your children and others, so that one day, they too may give. Well said.
Oh yes, 18 July also just happens to be my younger sister’s birthday, whom I was lucky enough to have dinner with last night!0