Scouts hon­our Madiba’s self­less legacy to help oth­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPOSTER - REBECCA JACK­MAN

CHIL­DREN through­out the coun­try an­swered the call to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers on Man­dela Day.

Thurs­day was a spe­cial day be­cause Nel­son Man­dela cel­e­brated his 95th birth­day. To mark the day, ev­ery year peo­ple spend 67 min­utes do­ing what they can to make the world a bet­ter place. This ties in with Madiba’s val­ues of fight­ing in­jus­tice, help­ing peo­ple or an­i­mals in need and rec­on­cil­ing.

The num­ber 67 comes from the num­ber of years he was ac­tive in pol­i­tics.

In and around Cape Town chil­dren gath­ered and joined their par­ents, teach­ers and scout masters in do­ing good deeds. Some joined a hu­man chain along Klip­fontein Road, oth­ers helped out at an­i­mal shel­ters.

Forty- five scouts and their lead­ers from 2nd Bergvliet, 1st Monte Vista and 2nd Somerset West vis­ited Robben Is­land where Man­dela was im­pris­oned and they cleaned some of the shore­line.

“It was a very hum­bling and eye­open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us. Some ar­eas of the prison, es­pe­cially Man­dela’s cell block, had a real and eerie feel. It gave me goose bumps,”

said Peter Otzen, Troop Scouter 2nd Bergvliet.

He said the scouts filled 50 large black bags with the lit­ter they col­lected.

Fiona Mar­i­nus, Scout leader from 2nd Somerset West, said that al­though there was still a lot more work to be done, “we are re­ally happy to have been able to con­trib­ute to curb­ing the ef­fects of the de­bris for the is­land’s wildlife”.

Be­fore leav­ing the is­land the scouts spoke to the con­ser­va­tion ex­perts about pos­si­ble so­lu­tions and the ef­fect the lit­ter has on the lo­cal wildlife. Robben Is­land’s po­si­tion means that a lot of de­bris and lit­ter lands up on its shores, pre­sent­ing a sub­stan­tial prob­lem for the lo­cal wildlife.

The scouts hope they can do more to help.

“Nel­son Man­dela is the pa­tron of scout­ing in South Africa,” said Quintin Com­brink, Troop Scouter of 1st Monte Vista. “He has led by ex­am­ple and this is our way of giv­ing back…

“We had a great time, it was in­spir­ing and I hope in fu­ture we can do more. Af­ter all, as Scouts we aim to leave this world a lit­tle bet­ter than we found it.”

Other Scouts, who were un­able to make it to the is­land, made hun­dreds of litres of soup for poor peo­ple and those liv­ing on the street.

Seventeen Scout groups have so far made 913 litres of soup and col­lected more than 100 loaves of bread. The food was dis­trib­uted to peo­ple in their com­mu­ni­ties and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Cubs, Scouts and some par­ents, too, came to­gether at short no­tice to pre­pare and dis­trib­ute the soup.

They also learnt how to make soup, how to iden­tify healthy in­gre­di­ents, how to be safe and hy­gienic while cook­ing, and ul­ti­mately how to be of ser­vice to those in need.

“Our group lead­ers re­ported lots of learn­ing, fun and spe­cial mo­ments for Scouts and cubs,” says Paddy Mil­ner, Scouts South Africa Provin­cial Com­mis­sioner for the Western Cape. “In some cases our chil­dren and teenagers saw the hard­ship en­dured by oth­ers and have de­cided to con­tinue their pro­ject for a while longer. It has shown that the young peo­ple can re­spond to times of need in a spirit of learn­ing and hav­ing fun with a pur­pose.”

FOR THE WILDLIFE: Forty-five Scouts learnt about Nel­son Man­dela’s im­pris­on­ment on Robben Is­land and they helped clean the shore­line. Man­dela is a pa­tron of Scouts SA.

IN­SPI­RA­TION: Nel­son Man­dela’s good works have in­spired mil­lions.

GIV­ING BACK: Chil­dren make soup to hand out to peo­ple in need of a warm meal.

TEAM EF­FORT: Ded­i­cated Scouts help to clean up Robben Is­land.

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