De Beers Group employees in South Africa joined in the celebrations to mark Mandela Day – along with countless thousands throughout the country and around the world.
South Africans come together each year on 18 July, the date that marks Nelson Mandela’s birth in 1918, and spend 67 minutes doing good for those in need. This is to honour the 67 years that he dedicated to the struggle for freedom and democracy in the country.
Under the 2017 theme ‘Taking Action Against Poverty’, De Beers Group’s Voorspoed mine, in partnership with Ngwathe and Moqhaka municipalities, stepped in to make a positive change, particularly for people with disabilities, the elderly and children.
Voorspoed employees were joined in Parys by Ngwathe Mayor Councillor Joey Mochela in handing out 100 blankets for elderly people at Mosepedi Hall, Tumahole. The Tumahole Self Help Home for disabled people also received a makeover thanks to the 150 litres of paint donated by the mine.
Councillor Mochela praised Voorspoed for the contribution, saying: “Every year when we knock at the mine doors with requests like these to assist the community, the mine never hesitates. I would like to say to you that your efforts are really appreciated in this community.”
Norah Mangwane, 61, thanked the mine. “Winter will never be the same for us,” she said.
Mine employees also helped dig the food gardens, opened by Councillor Mochela, at Schonkenville stadium in Parys as part of the municipality food security programme.
Working with the municipality of Moqhaka, Voorspoed will donate a further 100 blankets in different areas around Kroonstad, Steynsrus and Viljoenskroon over the next couple of weeks. On Mandela Day, Eden Home in Kroonstad was the first to benefit followed by Iketsetseng Community Centre and Diketso Spiritual Home.
Nelson Mandela – known affectionately as Madiba - who died on 5 December 2013, aged 95, was South Africa’s first black president and probably the world’s most highly respected leader. The first Mandela Day was celebrated in 2009.
De Beers Group and Nelson Mandela had strong links. Madiba recognised the importance of the diamond industry to South Africa and said, in a foreword to a De Beers Group brochure: “I congratulate De Beers, a world leader in diamonds, with its roots in South Africa, for the way it continues to demonstrate its credentials as a good corporate citizen in so many areas of concern.”
In particular, he commended the leadership and imagination shown by De Beers Group and the National Union of Mineworkers in their joint fight against AIDS. He believed De Beers was “a fine example of responsible business making a real and lasting contribution to the people in the countries and communities where it operates”.