South Africans are knitting thousands of scarves to leave in public places for those in need

Thousands of South Africans have taken up the challenge to knit scarves and leave them in public places for those in need.


As the cold front hit South Africa yesterday, philanthropist and ‘Arts Angel’, Carolyn Steyn suggested that all South Africans 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 some how the philanthropist still finds time to inspire the nation to do more.

As the cold front hit South Africa yesterday, Carolyn took to social media to suggest another challenge for all South Africans to take part in.

She posted what she is calling a “secret scarf mission” but asking for the message to be shared far and wide.

“We have worked our fingers to the bone making blankets for people less fortunate and for this I extend my most heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you that has already contributed blankets this year.”

The blankets are now in the midst of distributions – working with all the Ambassadors, the KnitWits for Madiba and Stuttaford Van Lines. Handing out thousands of blankets to orphanages, old aged homes and informal settlements.

“Now that our big work has been done for the year, I suggest we all have a nice cup of tea with friends (or in our own quiet time) and CHURN out as many SCARVES as you possibly can for this special day which has become an annual day of giving on the part of our 67 Blankets family.”

The concept is to leave the scarves in parks, around trees, parking metres, tied around lamp posts on the exact same day – Thursday 13 July 2017. Scarves left for anyone that needs them all around our beautiful country.

“We will display our scarves (made with love) – each one bearing our special trademark logo and message : “I AM NOT LOST. IF YOU ARE COLD AND NEED ME, PLEASE TAKE ME. LOVE, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day”.

People on their way home, walking to bus stops and taxi ranks from school and work, will be gloriously surprised by the colourful displays and messages of love and warmth.

“So, in the next few days, let’s see just how many SCARVES we can quickly churn out!!!”

“Please post pictures!!! And let’s get rocking with this project – also not forgetting our #MMM (Massive Mandela Masterpiece)!!! We need all those blankets handed in by December so that South Africa can make HISTORY next year to mark Madiba’s 100th year.”

“But right now think “SCARVES, SCARVES, SCARVES”!!!!”

“Love, Carolyn”

“P.S. Please spread this posting far and wide. And pick up your hooks NOW!!!”

Check out some of the pics from last years “Secret Scarf Mission” or become a “KnitWit by clicking here“.

Sources: Carolyn Steyn
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.


  1. Ann Bishop

    May 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Is there a drop off place in Jhb. Also what is suggested size.thank you regards Ann Bishop Kempton Park

  2. Jenny Craig

    May 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    I think this is a fantastic drive!!

    I would like to participate and organise scarfs for Benoni area.

    Please let me know if I should be doing something in particular or may I just go ahead and organise for the scarfs to be made and hung on the 13th?

  3. Sonja

    July 12, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Hi. I’ve knitted a few scarves & am ready for drop off in cape town tomorrow. Is there a plan of where to do the drop off? Or do we just do our own thing?

  4. Loretta George

    July 12, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Hi the girls at our company knitted a few scarves.Where can we drop it off or form part of a bigger group….Super excited.

    • kagiso

      January 12, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      where is ur company located ,i want to knit beanies at
      ur company

  5. Bev Lawrence

    July 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I am in Weltevreden Park, I have knitted/crocheted scarves but am not in this area next week. Is there anywhere that I could drop them off tomorrow? Anywhere in the Randburg/Fourways/ Monte area?

  6. Cindi Barnard

    August 7, 2017 at 9:55 am

    I have only seen this now. What a wonderful idea. Could we have a plan for next year so that we can start now!!

  7. Kate McManus

    August 27, 2017 at 5:47 am

    I love this creative way of caring for others

  8. Red Ridiing

    April 23, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Loved the post.
    Nice idea to show care to others.

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