Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
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On July 20, members of SGI-South Africa (SGI-SA) from Johannesburg commemorated Mandela Day 2013 with visits to the Itlhokomeleng Association for Aged and Disabled and the adjacent Sediba sa Thuto (Well of Learning) Childcare Centre in the Alexandra township. This is the third consecutive year SGI-SA has participated in Mandela Day in this way.
This year, the biggest challenge for the Sediba sa Thuto crèche, which looks after nearly 90 children, was to provide sleeping mats for the children's scheduled nap time. Due to a lack of mats, the children have had to sleep on the concrete floor.
The SGI-SA members delivered donations of sleeping mats, toys, blankets and food, collected by the eight groups of SGI-SA Gauteng Chapter, to the crèche, which was closed for the weekend, and the residents of the Itlhokomeleng Association home. They also provided manicures and massages for the Itlhokomeleng residents and entertained them with a magic show and music.
Mandela Day is an international campaign to encourage people to devote 67 minutes of their time to community service and humanitarian activities, upholding the legacy of Nelson Mandela on his birthday (July 18). Mr. Mandela, who is also known by his clan name Madiba, gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity.
The residents of the retirement home thanked the SGI members by dancing and also singing songs in return. It was a day filled with "Madiba Magic," where those who gathered shared hopes to build a greater nation and prayers for the recovery of their beloved first president of a democratic South Africa, who had at that time spent over seven weeks in critical care in a Pretoria hospital.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-South Africa (SGI-SA); photos courtesy of SGI-SA]
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