WESTERN Province takes on the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cul i tomorrow - who could ask for }pore? Well, Province captain Juan de Jongh and his men believe they can, when they run on to the field at Newlands tomorrow. De Jongh says his team will have greater motivation from kick-off because they took part in a very special project with ver special people -and they have the bracelets to prove it. On July 18, Nelson Mandela's birthday, De Jongh and teammates Nic Groom, Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt Coleman took part in a project with Relate, which raises funds for other charities by employing older women - grandmothers - from the townships around Cape Town to make beaded bracelets which are sold.
As part of their 67 Minutes for Mandela, the players took part in a 33 minute and 30 seconds timed contest with a group of Relate's bead-stringing "gogos" - and lost. De Jongh, who managed a length of 1,7m, was the fastest of the Province stars, and even he did not come close to the gogos' speed. Yesterday, after De Jongh led his team out for the traditional Captain's Run before the match' Relate founder Lauren Gillis and chief operating officer Neil Robinson presented them with personalised bracelets made from their strings
"These bracelets are going to motivate us even more," De Jongh said. "Now that we know how much effort the gogos go to in order to make these bracelets, we are going to put even more effort into our play and show them we appreciate what they are doing."
And as a bonus, to help them run even faster, jump even higher and tackle even harder, the gogos are going to be in the stands to cheer for them.
Gillis explained Relate followed a system based on thirds. One-third of the organisation is aimed at providing work and an income to the elderly women, often left to fend for grandchildren, and even other people's children, in the poverty-stricken townships. A third is donated to a variety of other charities. The final third is used to buy raw materials and pay for the upkeep of the organisation.
So far, Relate has been able to donate R18 million from the sale of bracelets. "We are not really selling bracelets... We are selling what the bracelets are meant to raise funds for. We are selling the change we all want tQ see in this country," Gillis said.
This article was first published in the Saturday Weekend ARgus on the 16 August 2014, click here for the original article