Making It Count on Mandela Day

In South Africa, Mandela Day takes on a special kind of resonance for all of its citizens. We gather together to realise the dream that Nelson Mandela had, that every individual has the power to change the world and make an impact. He fought for social justice for 67 years, and we now take the first step towards this goal by starting with 67 minutes. As the great Madiba once said, “One of the most difficult things is not to change society — but to change yourself,” and the NetMechanic team banded together on Thursday the 18th of July 2019 (better known as Mandela Day since 2009)  to work towards changing our selves and bettering society. 

We took part in a fun and educational Amazing Race-themed day planned by Shiloh Synergy, a local group of projects which is committed to the upliftment of communities in the Western and Eastern Cape. One of their main goals is to build a better future for the children of these regions, using education and development.  Read on below to find out more about the exciting entertainment we experienced.   


An Early Start At Athlone School For The Blind


The Amazing Race hosted by Shiloh Synergy consisted of 21 teams and 84 participants. We had six unique pitstops to reach before the end of the event at 13:30 pm, and so the NetMechanic Ninjas had an early start. We left the office at 9:15 am and met the rest of the contenders at the Athlone School For The Blind At this inspiring institution, we were asked to perform activities in order to better understand what these children experience on a daily basis. We tried on different glasses suited for different types of blindness, which gave us new insight into how these visually-impaired children are able to navigate the world. Our team was also tasked with being blindfolded and walking with a cane and drawing a dot-to-dot drawing with a blindfold. While these were difficult activities, we enjoyed learning more about these incredible children.   


Cleaning Up The Community with VRCID


In 2017, a fire destroyed a building in Voortrekker Road Corridor CID in Parow. It became a seemingly hopeless situation, but to remedy this, a community-wide cleanup was launched by the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District. Here, the NetMechanic Ninjas had to roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty.  With VRCID, we had to clean up the rubbish in the surrounding area as part of the next leg in our Amazing Race. This is part of their continuing efforts to reach their vision of creating and maintaining an area along the Voortrekker Roan Corridor that is safe and sustainable. Our team had to pick up as much litter and rubbish as possible in the allotted time, helping with the cause and easing their workload. We geared up with gloves and other protective items, braving the cold and the rain to create a cleaner and more accessible space for the community.   


Finding Our Foodie Feet With Shiloh Food And Jesus In Action


The next stop on our journey to make the most of Mandela Day was Jesus In Action (JiA), a Christian movement which began in Brackenfell and has moved forward to inspire hundreds of people to take part in their cause. Here we had to really tap into our creativity in order to decorate cakes to serve to guests from the Rusoord Ouetehuis.  Our team had tons of fun icing cakes to share with the guests, making their day that much brighter and more delicious. We alternated between JiA and Shiloh Food, a project which cooks food for the less fortunate in the Western Cape. At Shiloh Food, we had to prepare delicious meatballs (to help meet their quota of 2 500!).  This called for all hand son deck for the NetMechanic Ninjas – luckily we all enjoy making good food!  


Wagging Tails and Tummy Rubs At Change For The Better Foundation


Our office is full of animal lovers – some of us even have more than one pet at home! Our day was made by the final leg of our journey, having to take a photograph with a cat or dog at the Change For The Better Foundation. We posed for photos with purring felines and jumpy puppies.  While we were not able to go home with any of the beautiful animals we saw the Change For The Better Foundation, the photographs the teams took can hopefully be used to bring in more potential adopters who want to give a pawed one their new furever home. This was the final leg of our race day and arguably one of the highlights for everyone involved.   


Closing The Day At Shiloh Khanya Kids


After all of the fun and excitement, the proceedings concluded at Shiloh Khanya Kids. This is one of the schools created and nurtured by Shiloh Synergy itself. Here again, we had to get our hands dirty and make play-doh for the kids to enjoy during playtime. We enjoyed this return to childhood and got stuck in to complete the task! We were treated to delicious food and a fun awards ceremony afterwards. Throughout the day we had to crack codes and solve puzzles to find our next clue. Our Mandela Day was fun-filled but also allowed us to give back in meaningful ways to our surrounding communities. The NetMechanic Ninjas came 11th out of 21 teams, not a bad score overall, but the true achievement was being able to spend time contributing to the betterment of society.