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A gigantic blanket of assorted colours has been laid out on a green field at Steyn City School north of Joburg in support of disadvantaged Joburgers in the looming winter season. All you see is bright colours; red, green, yellow, pink, and blue.

The organisation, 67 Blankets for Madiba unveiled the Rainbow Nation Blanket of Hope in Fourways on Wednesday, 11 May. The oversize sheet is composed of 4 000 individual blankets, which will go a long way in keeping someone warm during the chilly winter months.

The unveiling event was attended by healthcare workers, the blankets’ knitters (known as nitwits), dignitaries, and school children. Guests were entertained by performances from household South African names like the legendary PJ Powers, the Joburg Ballet Company, and local choirs. It was a great celebration, with guests revelling and dancing to the lively tunes on stage.

The 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela initiative has pledged to keep thousands of less fortunate Joburgers warm this winter. Stitch by stitch, his legacy lives on in each blanket, lovingly created by the nitwits for Madiba with their own two hands.

This year, 67 Blankets partnered with humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers to honour all frontline personnel who worked selflessly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Carolyn Steyn, the founder of the 67 Blankets initiative thanked all healthcare workers for their selfless contribution to saving lives during the pandemic and thanked the dignitaries who made the day possible.

Well known anti-crime activist, Yusuf Abramjee, commended the 67 Blankets initiative for its generosity.

"When you see the goodwill that comes out of this project, it makes you feel proud to be South African. It is Ubuntu in action. We salute all the sponsors," said Abramjee.

"Let’s continue to make a difference," he added.

At the handover event, Tapiwa Marima, a Gift of the Givers representative, shared a message of support from Imtiaz Sooliman, the charitable organisation's founder, who couldn’t attend the handover event.

"Thank you for the work that you do. When I look at the blankets, it looks like the rainbow nation. This is the kind of hope we’re looking for. Thank you so much on behalf of Gift of the Givers," Marima read Sooliman’s the message.

He said the blankets will be distributed in poverty-stricken neighbourhoods throughout the country.
KnitWits from across South Africa contributed their time in knitting to produce the lovely blankets that were part of the unveiling ceremony in Fourways.

Maureen Sibadela and Pinkie Carolina Ramodumo from Alpha World Ministries in Soweto said they are honoured to have been part of the unveiling ceremony and are delighted their arduous work will keep people warm.

"If everyone could get one blanket, it would make an enormous difference in our lives," said Sibadela.

Dr Amany Asfour, the President of Egypt’s Business and Professional Women, the African Alliance for Women's Empowerment, and the Afro-Arab Network for Empowerment was the keynote speaker. Asfour said the rainbow blanket is a symbol of integrity and "coming together".

Written by Brümilda Swartbooi
Photo by John Hogg