Pretoria: 10 August 2017
The 2017 winter season in the southern hemisphere may be gently yet resolutely winding down in keeping with its own stubborn schedule, and with the process, as always, the emergence of a welcome change towards warmer weather conditions.
However, it will be the end of a wintry chill in 2017 that will be remembered fondly by no less than 700 elderly people and children across South Africa who in the year received a gift of very warm blankets from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as a gesture of goodwill in celebrating the Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18.
SAMSA has keenly participated in the global annual event locally to honour the South African statesman since its launch by the United Nations Assembly about a decade ago.
In 2017, once again SAMSA involved its staff in bringing relief to the communities in which it operates through its ‘CHANGE MAKERS’ initiative launched in 2015 to encourage employee voluntarism in community outreach projects.
Through the SAMSA Change Makers initiative, employees of the organization across the country are encouraged to identify communities or segments thereof that may receive assistance to meet needs in their respective regions.
In 2017, rural villages with predominantly elderly people in Qumbu in the Eastern Cape were chosen for the main event and during which some 150 grannies and grandpas were gifted with the warm winter blankets.
The rest of the blankets were shared with communities identified by staff in regions in which the organization operates, from Durban on the Indian through to Saldahna Bay on the west coast.
For the main event, the choice of Qumbu, and precisely the Tsitsa Falls, was partly to align the Corporate Social Investment-driven event with the rest of SAMSA’s maritime sector public awareness campaigns and social development projects currently underway in the Eastern Cape province and whose focus currently is on the O.R Tambo District municipality encompassing Mbizana, Qumbu and Port St Johns.
They encompass marine tourism in two streams, youth skills development and tourism facilities.
SAMSA hosted this year’s International Day of the Seafarer in Mbizana, with Port St Johns also scheduled by the Department of Transport (under which SAMSA falls) as the host for this year’s celebration of the World Maritime Day in the week up to September 28.
Mbizana is the birthplace of the late ANC president, Oliver Reginald Tambo and whose national centennial celebrations are ongoing this year in honour of his immense contribution to South Africa’s liberation struggle.
On July 18, in the neighbhouring town of Qumbu, in honour of yet another liberation stalwart and global statesman, Nelson Mandela; SAMSA hosted no less 150 elderly people, male and female, to present them with warm winter blankets.
According to SAMSA, the Tsitsa Falls on the Tsitsa river was chosen as the venue for the event also partly to indicate an intention to earmark and profile the area’s nature beauty spot for mapping into the country marine tourism development initiatives under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean’s Economy) national campaign launched in 2014.
“The theme this year was “Action against Poverty” in line with the overarching theme of Take Action, Inspire Change and Make every day Mandela Day concept. Interestingly and ironic in a way, was that among the 150 guests, the oldest person was 98 years old and it was the first time she was visiting the Tsitsa Falls !” said SAMSA
The criteria for selecting recipients of the 700 blankets was fairly simple; recipients had to be from previously disadvantage backgrounds, or homeless individuals, orphanages, the elderly (given first preference) or child headed households, or widows and or widowers.
People had fun!
For more pics of the event countrywide, Click Here and stroll down.