Scouts honour Madiba’s selfless legacy to help others
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.