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​When considering what could bring a city, a country, or the entire world together, something as simple as a blanket would never have crossed one’s mind. The 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day initiative, in collaboration with the non-governmental organisation Gift of the Givers, is doing just that by knitting a massive blanket to unite the nation.

Joburgers are invited to rally together over the next few months to help create the Rainbow Nation Blanket of Hope, knitting or crocheting blankets of any size, in bright, vivid, rainbow colours to evoke the warm and generous spirit of our country’s rainbow nation.

"67 Blankets is bringing individuals together to celebrate the compassion and resilience of South Africans through a tough two years of Covid-19 lockdowns. More importantly, we are giving back to our fellow people. The gift of hope is the biggest gift we can give South Africans during this time of uncertainty," says Carolyn Steyn, KnitWit-in-chief and founder of 67 Blankets.

There are no rules for becoming a fellow KnitWit, as Steyn refers to her team. All you need is your crochet or knitting pen and you will be ready and set to go. Existing and new KnitWits have until the end of March 2022 to get those needles and hooks clicking away to hand in all blankets on time.

Once all blanket submissions have been made, the gigantic blanket will be combined and laid out at the Steyn City School in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 11 May 2022, after which, Gift of the Givers will distribute individual blankets to people in need before the onset of winter. The blankets will be distributed not only throughout Johannesburg but also throughout the country.

"Gift of the Givers appreciates the partnership with 67 Blankets for Mandela as this relationship embodies the concept of active citizenry and selflessness where we as a nation stand up and hold hands together to assist the most vulnerable and least endowed within our communities," says Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of Gift of the Givers.

Dr Sooliman says a blanket is a symbol of hope, bringing warmth, comfort, ease, and specifically unconditional love when knitted by a stranger for a fellow national. This altruistic action by those who encourage, promote, knit, and sponsor the campaign is in essence an act of deep spirituality for the greater good providing a better life for all in keeping with the ethos of Mandela Day and what the late president epitomised.

"What started as a friendly challenge by the late Nelson Mandela’s assistant, Zelda la Grange, over my husband’s birthday lunch, has now become a global movement which represents the spirit of Ubuntu. Join the movement and make your mark. If you are not ready to knit, please donate a ball of wool," says Steyn.

Visit or email for more information on becoming a KnitWit or donating wool.


Written by Sascha-Lee Joseph