SOUTH AFRICA - Container shipping company Safmarine’s South African contingent were among thousands of volunteers around the world who supported the fourth Nelson Mandela International Day as they celebrated the great man’s 94th birthday, by assisting communities in need. The ocean freight company’s volunteers joined forces with cresylic acid producers Merisol and spent their time painting classrooms and planting lemon trees at Khensani School in Shoshanguve in Gauteng, Johannesburg. Other volunteers in Cape Town helped the local post office in planting 50 indigenous trees at the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy BMX Oval in Khayelitsha.
Both Khensani Primary School and Velokhaya are Safmarine ‘Containers in the Community’ programmes. The programme entails the conversion of decommissioned seafreight containers into infrastructure utilities such as schools, classrooms, libraries and computer centres. Safmarine pioneered the use of shipping containers for community purposes when it launched the award winning ‘Containers in the Community’ programme 20 years ago, in July 1992. Since then, more than 8000 shipping containers have been used in more than 3000 projects in South Africa and Africa. According to Patricia Simons, Safmarine South Africa PR and CSI Manager:
“Decommissioned shipping containers are converted as part of Safmarine’s continued focus on helping to address poverty and inequality in South Africa by getting involved in educational projects that support skills transformation and education.”
The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. Individuals and organisations are free to participate in Mandela Day as they wish but are urged to adhere to the ethical framework of service to one’s fellow human. According to Monde Mpongoshe, Velokhaya’s CEO:
“Mandela Day not only celebrates Nelson Mandela’s life, but is also a global call to action for people to recognise their ability to have a positive effect on others around them. The Safmariners’ enthusiasm and spirit was very inspiring and certainly had a positive effect on the children in our programme.”
Photo: Tree Planting - from left to right: Lynette Berry (Merisol RSA Pty Ltd), Dr Fanie Sebolela (Head Master, Khensani Primary School), Enos Ramatlapa (Safmarine), Candice Maclear (Merisol RSA Pty Ltd), Peter Shitba (Chairman of the School Governing Board Khensani Primary School), Janine Green (Safmarine) and Billy Govender (Safmarine)