Mandela Day 2018Suhail Khan
The Zanokhanyo Network
67 Hundred slices of bread – that’s 3,350 sandwiches that were donated to the community of Langa. For Mandela Day, The Zanokhanyo Network hosted a sandwich making event at Langa Methodist Church which spread this act of kindness to new levels.
Employment initiative of NPO Common Good, The Zanokhanyo Network (TZN) celebrated Mandela Day by turning 67 hundred (6700) slices of bread into 3350 sandwiches and handing them out at the Langa Taxi Rank, the Vuka Nomtobhoyi Orphanage and cultural group, and various surround areas of Langa for their 67 minutes for the iconic leader’s centenary. Additionally, the group shared about how to break the cycle of unemployment and despondency with the community.
Beginning at 7am, Common Good staff and The Zanokhanyo Network team, some of their Job Readiness Course Graduate volunteers, staff from EHire, and members of Common Ground and Langa Methodist Churches energetically put together sandwiches at The Langa Methodist Church in a well thought out assembly line.
Job Readiness Course Graduates shared their stories of hope with Langa Residents. Sakhumzi Qina, a graduate who recently secured employment, spent his day off encouraging others to sign up for the Job Readiness Course. “I remember the receptionist telling me, ‘TZN doesn’t employ people but it helps people find employment,’” a smiling Qina explained. “I was in a desperate position looking for work for 3 months. The Zanokhanyo Network taught me not to just work for money but to work to serve.” Qina would like people in his community to experience what he did at the Epping based organisation, “before, I was hopeless, but I developed hope during the course; I realised my strengths.”
Volunteers and community members alike were impacted by the drive to feed over 1500 people. Obakeng Mfulwane, a volunteer from UCT, was impressed by the Job Readiness Graduates, “Seeing how happy and empowered the graduates are to serve their own communities so willingly was a clear indication for me that the programme had a significant impact on their lives.”
With many leaders in attendance throughout the day, it was a true reflection of servant leadership Ryan TerMorhuizen, a leader of Common Ground Church Rondebosch articulated similar sentiments, “it’s brilliant to see people coming together to serve and extend themselves on behalf of others.” CEO of Common Good, Klaas van Mill, believes it is our mandate to “make a difference and love our neighbours practically.”
In the spirit of improving the lives of fellow South Africans through service, Zanokhanyo Network Leader, Linda Chonco, reflected on the history of the organisation saying that the organisation has been living Mandela Day for the past ten years, “Through our TZN Job Readiness Training, we have sought to empower the unemployed to rediscover their sense of worth and dignity as they gain the confidence and skills to find and retain employment.”
TZN, was founded in 2016 and is an initiative of Common Good—a non-profit organisation that takes a holistic approach to tackling poverty and social injustice. Built on the foundation of a strong Christian ethos, The Zanokhanyo Network is a place of abundant opportunities and possibilities where under and unemployed individuals from all walks of life are guided to be emotionally, professionally and spiritually prepared for the job market.
The organisation seeks to connect graduates to opportunities such as jobs, internships, resources, information, referrals to other local services, pastoral, and spiritual care. Just as they have through past programs, The Zanokhanyo Network continues to empower people so that they are equipped to take responsibility for their lives and livelihoods. Candidates are encouraged to pre-register for the program for a small fee of R100 by contacting the TZN Epping branch on 021 531 0655 or WhatsApp 063 014 8514
Disa Book Covering
This year, the Common Good and Common Ground staff had Mandela Day ‘covered’ as they tackled the daunting task of covering a portion of the 5,000 plus books donated for the building of Disa Primary School’s first library. The day started at 8am with staff filtering into the Youth Zone with many looks ranging from confidence to concern based on their ability to cover books. Nonetheless, both newbies and experienced coverers stuck with it like contact paper and pressed on as the pile of covered books started to grow. The day was a continuation of the Education Saturday event held on Saturday 14 July, which saw the total of 681 books being covered. This with the 400 books covered on Mandela Day has yielded a total of 1,081 books covered in the last week.
Covering books may not be the conventional or most exciting Mandela Day event but the aim is that each and every one of these books will allow an opportunity for the students of Disa Primary School to embark on an exciting literature adventure of their own. Reading is an integral part in the academic and social development of children. Not only do books expose readers to new words but they also expose readers to new worlds. Worlds where there are no limits, worlds of comfort and safety, worlds of inspiration and quite frankly, worlds that escape the harsh realities of which these students face on a daily basis living in the community on Bonteheuwel.
A library is often a place taken for granted, but for many students across South Africa, a school library is a luxury. Our Mandela Day was not simply about covering books but rather, it was an opportunity for us to commit 67minutes towards making Tata Madiba’s dream of quality education in South Africa a reality.