Every year, the Relate Trust hosts an event to honour South Africa’s senior citizens ahead of Mandela Day. And each year, the Gogos and Tatas that work with the Relate Trust participate in a challenge.

They tackled the Stormers in 2014 and thrashed them on their home turf.

Next, in 2015, the elderly men and women took on a group of celebrities and won the race to thread the longest strand of beads hands down.

Last year, the seniors worked with the children of the Lalela Project and members of the public to create a very special beaded artwork of Madiba.

The as-yet undefeated Gogos and Tatas are back this July - and ready for the next bout! Except this time, it’s against each other.

The Relate Trust’s fourth annual beading challenge, The Battle of My 67 Beads, is set to take place on Thursday 13 July (ahead of Mandela Day on Tuesday 18 July) at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

This year will see the nation’s favourite grandmothers and grandfathers working alongside top South African celebs (including Matthew Booth, Tracey Lange, Schalk Bezuidenhout, Lindy Hibbard, DJ Sox, Zoë Brown, Jitsvinger, Zola Nene and more) instead of battling against them. 

The challenge is simple. The celebrity and senior pairs will have exactly 67 minutes to plan, design, and thread a bracelet.

“We want to pay tribute to Madiba and to our seniors, who spend their days threading bracelets in support of over 100 causes globally. Without them we would not be able to do the work that we do,” says Relate Trust CEO Neil Robinson. “These remarkable seniors, like Nelson Mandela did, are still contributing so much to their country, their communities and their children and grandchildren, and we are extremely grateful for their role.”

All the bracelets designed on the day, including the “winning” bracelet, can be won in a lucky draw to raise funds and awareness for education, a cause close to Madiba’s heart – a fitting tribute to the great man in what would have been his centenary year.

Anyone who purchases a Relate Mandela Day bracelet in support of the Nelson Mandela School Library Project will be entered into the lucky draw. The bracelets cost R67 and are available in selected Tourvest Destination Retail stores including Made in SA, Indaba, and Out of Africa.

Mandela Relate Bracelet

The Nelson Mandela School Library Project aims to change the face of literacy in South African schools by refurbishing and donating fully stocked container libraries to underprivileged schools across the country.

Every bracelet sold also supports these seniors who thread the beads to supplement their pensions. Many of them care for their grandchildren and others orphaned by HIV/Aids. Relate’s younger staff members, who form part of Relate’s production team also benefit from job creation programmes beyond Relate.