The idea of Mandela Day (67 minutes) was inspired by Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 when he said: ‘It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.’ The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s ‘values and his dedication to the service of humanity’ and acknowledging his contribution ‘to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world’.
The celebration of this day aims to serve as a global call to action for people to ‘recognise their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better,’ says the Nelson Mandela Foundation. By playing your part and devoting 67 minutes of your time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.
So why not support a soup kitchen in our area and support the ‘Give Responsibly’ campaign? It’s not that you only have to do something on Mandela Day on the 18 July, you can be inspired by Mandela and help change the world around you for the better. This way you are making a sustainable difference in the lives of beggars, and uplifting the truly destitute (list included as a pdf attachment at the end of the article, which you can print and hand out).
Most of the other street beggars in Bedfordview have been offered assistance to get off the streets. Leon De Bruin from the Bedfordview Community Policing Forum (BCPF) speaks to all of them and tells them that once they have made the decision to get off the street, he will use contacts, networks and the community to get them a job and a sustainable lifestyle away from street corners. Only one has ever accepted the offer to date.
There are often women and children begging, with young children left on a pavement or the small island in the middle of the road while the woman walks in between the cars begging. Their presence at the intersection is a danger to the child, and the motorists driving past. Often these women are ‘illegal aliens’ so social services are not able to do anything about it, as the police need to intervene first.
To residents and people who work in the area, who contribute directly to beggars, please consider this: the people who are asking you NOT to support beggars and window washers directly are the same people who are intimately involved in the security and running of our community. The SAPS, BCPF, DA councillors and concerned residents ask you to please rather support the legitimate charities that uplift the truly destitute. SAPS has proof that the beggars have been used by hijacking syndicates and criminals as informants. JMPD says motorists who give the washers money compromise the safety of other motorists by attracting more washers to those intersections.
Lorraine Frost, Head of Street People Unit Cape Town, said that most of the reasons why a person will not accept to go a shelter or safe space is that they are being enabled by residents. This means they are getting food, blankets and money for substance abuse and alcohol. They are very comfortable where they are. Give responsibly and rather donate to a shelter or safe space.
Please report any beggars to the Sector police number when you see them, and ask that they be removed:
Sector 1: 011 400 6661
Sector 2: 011 400 6662
Sector 3: 011 400 6663
Print some copies of the attached Soup Kitchens and keep them in your car to hand out to beggars in the area.
What are you doing for #MandelaDay?
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