The 67 Blankets KnitWits are gearing up for a colourful year by knitting or crocheting a giant “Rainbow Nation Blanket of Hope” for charity.
South Africa (27 January 2022) – Every year, the KnitWits of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day get an exciting assignment from founder Carolyn Steyn. The assignment is set for Nelson Mandela Day, which is then used to give back to charity.
The 2022 assignment is a “Rainbow Nation Blanket of Hope”. This year, 67 Blankets will be collaborating with Gift of the Givers to honour frontline workers. The blankets will be bright and vibrant, perfect for adding hope during the winter months.
“In early May we will be displaying our #67blankets #RainbowNationBlanketofHope comprising THOUSANDS of bright, warm, colourful blankets (made with love) at Steyn City School. Directly after the event blankets will be distributed to people and communities in need just before the extreme cold hits us, with the help of the incredible Gift of the Givers team.” – Carolyn Steyn
The fun part about the 2022 assignment, there are no rules! You can make any size blanket using any colour your heart desires. The only guideline is that the blanket needs to keep a human warm.
“We need YOUR help. And time is short. How many blankets will YOU be able to commit to making?? Please get your friends, family, children, husbands and next door neighbours involved. And the person you stand in line with at Checkers!!! Let’s rope everyone in!!”
How 67 Blankets Started.
In December 2013, Zelda la Grange, late former President Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, presented philanthropist and ‘Arts Angel’ Carolyn Steyn with a challenge: knit, sew or crochet 67 blankets!
These blankets would then be distributed to those in need on Mandela Day. In honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on the 18th July, Mandela’s birthday. The United Nations officially declared the day in 2009.
Carolyn gladly accepted Zelda’s challenge, but soon she called on her friends for help and developed 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.
Breaking Records for Charity
While the group’s focus has always been to give back in honour of Madiba by giving blankets to those in need, they work tirelessly to fly the South African flag high. The KnitWits even set and break world records. All in the effort to keep people warm through winter. They have previously knitted the world’s largest blanket portrait of Mandela (which was visible from space) and also knitted the world’s longest scarf.
In 2021, the KnitWits collaborated to make a giant Springbok blanket out of 2754 smaller blankets.
You can join the cause and become a KnitWit via their Facebook group here. In the group, you will be able to connect with fellow KntWits in your area, collaborate on community-based projects, chat directly with the leaders of the organisation and stay up to date with exciting projects.