Thousands of South Africans have taken up the challenge to knit scarves and leave them in public places for those in need.
Johannesburg, South Africa – As the cold front hit South Africa last week, philanthropist and ‘Arts Angel’, Carolyn Steyn once again inspired the nation to knit scarves and leave them in public places for those less fortunate!
Carolyn’s journey with knitting for South Africa started in December 2013, when Zelda la Grange, the late former President Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, presented her with a challenge: knit, sew or crochet 67 blankets for Madiba Day! Carolyn gladly accepted Zelda’s challenge and soon called on her friends for help which quickly developed into a Facebook group called “67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day”. In just days, hundreds of people from around the world had pledged to knit a blanket for Nelson Mandela Day.
Since then, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day has transformed into what some are calling a “movement” – a movement that has captured the attention of many South African and international celebrities as well as corporates and “KnitWits for Madiba” in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Cyprus, London, the US and India. Carolyn and the “KnitWits” have been very busy knitting blankets and handing them out to thousands of South Africans in need over the past years, but somehow the philanthropist still finds time to inspire the nation to do more.
In 2017, Carolyn took to social media to suggest another challenge for all South Africans to take part in; she posted what she called “a secret scarf mission” and asked for South Africans around the country to get together to create as many SCARVES as possible to leave in public places for those less fortunate.
Since then, the annual Secret Scarf Mission has grown in leaps and bounds and warmed many underprivileged South Africans, and it is taking place again! Participants around the country have spent the last few months knitting and crocheting beautiful scarves to distribute on the 9th of July.
“The concept is to leave the scarves in parks, around trees, parking metres, tied around lamp posts on the same day. Scarves left for anyone that needs them all around our beautiful country.”
The organisation says the scarves will have a note attached to them with a message that reads “I am not lost; if you’re cold and you need me, please take me”.
“We will be draping scarves, and for those who do not have anything to keep them warm this winter, they can just grab a scarf – so we’re just going to have a burst of colour around South Africa.
What we mainly do is blankets, and since we started in 2013/2014, we’ve distributed thousands of blankets. The work never stops; every day is Mandela Day with 67 Blankets. It’s not something you do on one day; you do it every day. There’s always someone who needs warmth – warmth is something we take for granted.”
Check out some of the pics from last years “Secret Scarf Mission” or become a “KnitWit by clicking here“.