MADIBA’S message was simple yet profound: there is nothing more gratifying than helping those who cannot help themselves.

This year Nelson Mandela would have celebrated his 100th birthday on Mandela Day – 18 July – and it is more pertinent than ever before that we honour his legacy by heeding his, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s, call to take #ActionAgainstPoverty.

Once again, The Constantia Village will be celebrating Mandela Day and striving to make a difference and we invite you to join us.

Give up one minute for every year of Madiba’s public service by:

  • Joining The Constantia Village’s tenants and customers on 18 July from 11 am to 1 pm in our Centre Court where we’ll be making sandwiches for the homeless which will be distributed by U-Turn Homeless Ministries;
  • Donating new or gently used items of clothing and blankets to the homeless – drop-off bins are already in place at the centre;
  • Dropping off sandwich items such as bread or spreads at the Centre Management offices in the main centre prior to the day.

Madiba encouraged us all to play a part in rebuilding our society by volunteering our time, resources or skills. He encouraged us to create a culture of volunteerism so that we could bring about change and uplift the poor.

At the 90th birthday celebrations of his great friend, Walter Sisulu, in 2002, he said: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

In an interview, he told Oprah Winfrey: “There is nothing better to keep you healthy and active than to do something for those who cannot help themselves. A true leader does not put his or her interests above the interests of others.”

There is increasing scientific evidence that being compassionate and unselfish is good for you. One of the well-known studies about so-called “helper’s high”, done by Allan Luks and published in Psychology Today in 1988, looked at the physical effects of giving experienced by more than 1 700 women who volunteered regularly. The studies showed that 50 percent of helpers reported feeling “high” when they assisted others, while 43 percent felt stronger and more energetic.

“Helper’s high” occurs when people perform good deeds for those less fortunate and it’s described as “nature’s built-in reward system for those who help others”.

In our country, and in honour of our great icon Nelson Mandela, giving can help heal the hurts and injustices of the past. Speaking at the launch of the Mandela Day centenary celebrations, the chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, said: “It is important that we use the capabilities we have, wherever we are stationed in life, in a way that dismantles the unequal structures of power and protects the most vulnerable. All of us must commit to continuing Madiba’s work; fight poverty and inequality; strive to eradicate the growing scourge of racism; and reckon with the history of oppression.”

Join us at The Constantia Village on 18 July where we will honour our great statesman and realise his dream to take #ActionAgainstPoverty. We welcome any contribution to our sandwich-making activity, and gratefully receive donations of clothing for U-turn Ministries. And we know Madiba would have heartily approved of this Chinese proverb:

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.

  • ABOUT U-TURN HOMELESS MINISTRIES: U-Turn is a Cape Town-based Christian non-profit organisation which aims to help the homeless through its rehabilitation programmes, addressing drug and alcohol addiction and providing work for the homeless in its charity shops, laundry and service centre. U-Turn’s ultimate goal is for the homeless to find meaningful employment and become self-sufficient. Visit the U-Turn Homeless Ministries website on or follow them on Facebook.
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