Every year on 18 July, the Nelson Mandela Foundation asks people around the world to devote 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mr Mandela’s public service – to something that helps and serves others.

This year, for our 67 minutes, we are honouring the senior citizens who thread the beads for our bracelets at the IKamva Labantu Seniors Clubs around the Western Cape, by holding a fun event in which some Western Province rugby players will compete against the seniors to see who can thread the most beads in 33½ minutes (which we will then double up to see how many they’d thread in 67 minutes).

In light of Nelson Mandela’s recent passing, we believe it is right to honour senior citizens who, like Nelson Mandela did, are still contributing so much to their country, their communities and their children and grandchildren, in their old age.

In our quest to make a difference and change lives, we make many different bracelets. But the thread running through all the bracelets is the people, mostly senior citizens, who string all the beads at the various Ikamva Labantu clubs. Ikamva Labantu is an NGO that works with and empowers children, senior citizens, community leaders and families in vulnerable communities to find solutions to the problems they face.

Most of the bracelet-makers are elderly women who are living on government pensions but support entire families – in numerous cases raising their grandchildren alone. The bracelet-making provides them with extra income. It also gives them an opportunity to get together with other elders of their community and talk, laugh and make connections. They are the ones who bead the miles and miles of elastic string used to make the bracelets – more than 50 million beads in just 4 years!

For your 67 minutes, why not wear an Ikamva Labantu bracelet to show your support of these amazing seniors?

Watch this space for more news on our bead-off competition!