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Knit Wits for Madiba make blankets for Mandela Day

  • Community67BlanketsB
A group of knitters at Golden Acres in Sandringham, known as the “Knit Wits for Madiba”, handed over their 45 handmade blankets to the 67 Blankets project for Nelson Mandela Day.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Jul 19, 2018

Local project ambassador Kevin Friedman, who received the blankets, visibly moved by with this “outpouring of love”.

He said: “Walking into the room, which looked as if Joseph’s coat of many colours had come to life, was overwhelming. The blankets represent the physical manifestation of the outpouring of goodwill and good wool. This dynamic group of dedicated women sitting around a communal table embodies the Jewish values of chesed.”

Every participant in the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day project benefits. The creative knitters have formed strong friendships while exercising their fingers against arthritis, socialising and fulfilling the highest degree of charity according to Maimonides, which is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives.

“This gift of a blanket from one human being to another acknowledges our common humanity, which encapsulates the concept of ubuntu,” added Friedman.

The recipients of the blankets experience a day transformed by joy with the gift of a long-lasting, unique, warm, cosy and handmade blanket that was made with love and kindness.

Golden Acres’ knitting group “reflects the real aspect of Mandela’s rainbow nation”, said Friedman. “One woman in this group is blind and still continues to share her love by creating these beautiful, warm blankets through the touch and feel of the wool, and the counting of stitches through the needles. Other members of the group help her with selecting the colours to ensure a stunning effect.”

Miriam Merkel, who is an ambassador for 67 Blankets, is also part of this dynamic group, which also includes Helen Holden and Myrna Jankelowitz. Members of the community are welcome to join in their knitting circle, which meets every weekday afternoon. Other knitting groups meet all over South Africa.

67 Blankets was founded four years ago by Carolyn Steyn in response to a challenge from Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s former personal assistant, to knit 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day. Steyn set up a Facebook group where people quickly pledged to knit and crochet.

Each year, the organisation has grown in strength and now holds three Guinness World Records for the world’s largest blankets. The tireless love from the Golden Acres Knit Wits has been included in these records! Over the past four years, more than 45 000 blankets have been distributed to needy recipients all over South Africa.

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