The Mandela Day (18 July) and Mandela Month are annual celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s life and serve as a global call to action for people to recognise individual power to make a change in the world.
The Gert Sibande District Municipality (GSDM) also started rolling out its Mandela Month activities last week where needy learners from various schools were given much needed assistance in order to ensure that their right to dignity as children is protected through sanitary towels and school uniform while attending school and that face masks are used as the country fights the spread of COVID-19.
The programme kick-started on Wednesday (15 July) where acting Executive Mayor, Cllr Bheki Buthelezi visited Lindza Lokuhle Primary School, eMpuluzi (Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality) where he donated full school uniform, face masks and sanitary towels.
In his address during the handover, Cllr Buthelezi urged members of the community and school children to adhere and familiarise themselves with the updated lockdown regulations.
Speaker for GSDM Council, Cllr Joshua Nkosi also participated in the Mandela Month activities when he visited Buhlebuyeza Primary School in Amsterdam (Mkhondo Local Municipality).
He also handed over full school uniform, face masks and sanitary towels to the school’s needy learners.
Cllr Joshua Nkosi also took a moment to remind those in attendance of the need to observe the current lockdown regulations and protecting one another by wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing at all times.
As the GSDM councillors were crisscrossing the district, the Whip of Council, Cllr Trevor Nkosi also made a turn at Shukuma Primary School, Sakhile (Lekwa Local Municipality). He also handed over school uniforms, face masks and sanitary towels to the school’s principal.
During the handover he explained that the uniforms were to ensure that learners from poor families are not taunted by other learners with their torn uniform or shoes.
He further stated that available research suggests that girl learners without access to sanitary towels loose valuable time off school when they are on their periods.
This was one way the GSDM ensured that they don’t have to miss those days. He also stressed the need and importance for everyone to play their part during these difficult times and stressed the need to accept and get used to the new normal and observe the safety measures in place to frequently wash hands, staying at home and wearing face masks at all times.
The school visits and activities were planned on the background that the former State President, Nelson Mandela was passionate about education and children were very close to his heart as expressed in one of his quotes.
“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect the people.”
These activities will continue throughout the District’s Local Municipalities for the month of July.