Kingsley Holgate and the Relate Trust teamed up to give the gogos and tatas the opportunity to see clearly again by offering free eye-tests and glasses.
The Relate Trust and explorer extraordinaire, Kingsley Holgate, marked the start of what would have been Nelson Mandela’s centenary year in Nyanga today by rewarding the remarkable seniors who thread Relate Trust bracelets.
The gogos and tatas meet regularly at Ikamva Labantu seniors clubs to do this close-up handwork. Today Holgate’s team conducted eye tests and handed out free reading spectacles as part of their Right to Site initiative.
“These seniors do incredible work for Relate and for the many charities that these bracelets fund. Many of them support their children and grandchildren with the money they earn from threading beads. This work supplements their pensions and enables them to further empower themselves and their communities.
“More than ever, we want them to know how special and important they are. Their generosity and hard work embody the spirit of Madiba, who we are also honouring today and will continue to do so for the next year,” said Relate Trust CEO, Neil Robinson.
Celebrating with the gogos and tatas on Mandela Day is just the start of a major year-long centenary campaign by Relate, going beyond 67 minutes and already having a positive impact on thousands of lives.
Relate has launched a Mandela Centenary Campaign and is partnering with individuals and businesses as part of their vision to raise R100 million to help address unemployment and illiteracy. Major partners already involved include Woolworths, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Comair and South32, and others are encouraged to come on board to help make a difference.
Proceeds from the sale of each bracelet go directly towards employing more people to make the bracelets and to the Nelson Mandela Library Project for the creation and implementation of container libraries in underprivileged schools. Each library typically services 1 000 children per year, with the library being active for at least 15 years (so, one library will influence 15 000 children on average). The libraries are also open to the surrounding communities and provide valuable resources for teachers.
Today’s handover also marked the start of Holgate’s next big adventure – a perilous trek to Kathmandu.
“This is the perfect place to start. These trips are all about improving and saving lives. Giving spectacles to elderly people whose livelihood requires keen eyesight is a fulfilment of that mission.
“The seniors’ work goes far beyond just a personal benefit. Through beading bracelets, they have helped fund hundreds of causes and impacted thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people ‒ not to mention the families and communities they support with their extra income. The work that they do with Relate shows the power of a successful social enterprise model,” said Holgate.
To support Relate’s campaign, buy the special Mandela Centenary bracelets from Woolworths stores and select Protea Hotels, Made In SA, Out of Africa, and The Tiger’s Eye stores nationwide.
For more information on Kingsley Holgate and his Rite to Sight initiative, visit the website here.