Carolyn Steyn says in 2023, the KnitWits (ambassadors of the 67 Blankets Project) will create a beautiful and colourful display of love and warmth in each region.
Johannesburg, South Africa (20 January 2023) – Carolyn Steyn, a well-known Johannesburg resident and philanthropist, can best be described as selfless and humble, with a heart of gold filled with unending kindness.
If she could lend a helping hand to everyone in need, the radio host, thespian, and founder of the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day initiative would. Steyn is unlike many other renowned people in that she does not consider herself famous and never imagined that her life would take the current path it is on. Instead, she uses her celebrity to help others, making her life an inspiration.
“I don’t think of myself as famous, but my work keeps me in the public eye. I am frequently recognised because of my involvement with 67 Blankets, but that just goes to show how far we have come over the years,” she says.
Steyn’s mother, Yvonne Mazotti, always taught her that they have a duty to help others, and while she tries to assist those in need whenever and wherever she can, she is unable to help everyone, which can be difficult for others to understand.
Steyn is well-known for hosting the radio show Hot Classic every evening from 7pm to 10pm on Monday through Friday on Hot 1027 FM.
Her involvement in the 67 Blankets Project began shortly after the death of Nelson Mandela in 2013.
She accepted Madiba’s former assistant Zelda La Grange’s challenge to literally make 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day and distribute them to those in need.
Her sister arrived with wool and a crochet hook, but she quickly realised she would need assistance if she was to meet her goal before Nelson Mandela Day the following year.
“So, I reached out to friends on Facebook for help with what at the time seemed like an insurmountable task; and I could never have imagined what an incredible response I would receive or how it would eventually grow into this.”
Steyn says in 2023, the KnitWits (ambassadors of the 67 Blankets Project) will create a beautiful and colourful display of love and warmth in each region, making at least 670 blankets.
“This is sure to attract the attention of the world and receive some wonderful ‘blanket coverage’. Thousands more vulnerable people in South Africa will be kept warm next winter,” she says in a heartfelt tone.
Steyn is also working on a few other projects as if she isn’t already overburdened. She is a member of the Institute Français d’Afrique du Sud (IFAS) and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s boards of directors.
“I am also on the board of Hot Cares, which strives to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those around us by providing much-needed assistance to those in difficult circumstances in our community,” she adds.
Steyn has always lived in this wonderful city, having grown up in Kensington with her close family.
Described as a quiet Johannesburg suburb with a few hills here and there, Kensington was founded in 1987 and is sandwiched by Troyeville, Bedfordview, Bruma, and Cyrildene.
“I was raised by my mother, father, and two sisters. My parents rented our first home, and when I was 12, they made the big decision to buy a house for the princely sum of R12,000. This was a lot of money in those days, especially for my parents, and it took them many years to pay it off,” she shares fondly.
She now lives with her husband – insurance billionaire Douw Steyn, and their two little Yorkies, BB and Blondi, who are like children to them – at the massive multi-billion-rand Steyn City Lifestyle Estate, which is sandwiched between William Nicol Drive and Cedar Road in northern Joburg.
“It was my husband’s dream to build this lifestyle estate, which spans over 2,000 acres of greenbelts and parkland planted with indigenous trees and shrubs, along with a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a shopping mall, sports facilities, and even a school. I am extremely proud of what he has accomplished here, as well as the fact that he has invested in Johannesburg,” she says.
Steyn notes that marrying Douw, a successful and well-known South African businessperson, is what first brought her to the attention of many people. However, he is rather reclusive and dislikes being in the spotlight.
“People nowadays often ask him if he is Carolyn Steyn’s husband when they meet him,” she says in jest.
Johannesburg has a special place in the celebrity’s heart, especially for the energy and hustle and bustle, which she finds infectious.
“I enjoy living in Johannesburg, and, of course, I enjoy its people.
I also enjoy the beautiful purple jacaranda blooms, the dramatic Highveld storms, and afternoon walks with my dogs; and even the Hadeda birds’ song! We have beautiful weather, and the sunsets in Johannesburg are breathtaking. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” she exclaims.
Steyn adds that Johannesburg is a vibrant and dynamic city with a rich history and a population of incredible, resilient people.
“However, there is still much to be done to make our City a better place for all.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton is one of her favourite places in Johannesburg and one with which she has a special connection. She describes it as the ideal combination of reflection and history.
It also helps to preserve Madiba’s legacy by promoting his lifelong vision of freedom and equality for all.
Her favourite quote is by the late President Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible, until it is done”. And for this reason, and similar to the quote, Steyn will go to any length to assist those in need because there is nothing worse than giving up before making a difference for others.