Department reaches out to schools

“Never before has our country celebrated a life as we are celebrating Madiba’s. We do not call Madiba the father of our rainbow nation merely for political correctness and relevance.”

This was the statement made by Geoffrey van der Merwe, spokesperson for Martha Bartlett, Media Liaison Officer to the Northern Cape MEC for Education, regarding Mandela Day.

“We do so because he laid a firm foundation to build the South Africa of our dreams – one that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous. We do so because Madiba was a courageous leader,” he said in motivation of Mandela Day.

The department has described 18 July to honor the former president and international iconas a day of humanitarian action in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy; the day also serves as an encouragement to everyone to change the world through voluntary community work.

Mandela spent 67 years of his life advancing the struggle for the liberation of all South Africans – black and white – from political, social and economic division, the department states. It explains Mandela Day as encouraging people to be active citizens and agents for change and ensuring that South Africans come together to defeat challenges like poverty and to build a world based on peace, love and humanity.

Van der Merwe said there was no other way to honour Mandela than being dedi­cated to the service of fellow human beings and by actively helping others to change their circumstances.

The various district offices of the Department of Education had reportedly identified a school to donate 100 pairs of school shoes to, in honour of Mandela this year.

Van der Merwe said that the donation of school shoes, as a necessity to learners (especially during the winter), would contribute to restoring dignity, instilling self-confidence, providing a feeling of belonging and ultimately contribute to the quality of education.

The department further pledged a donation of library books to 100 schools in aid of promoting a reading culture among the learners as part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations.

“The MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, visited the Omang Primary School in the John Toalo Gaetsewe District today. We remain inspired by the ideals of Nelson Mandela and his beliefs in Education,” stated Van der Merwe.