On 14 July 2016, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Kabelo Kemp took to the busy and vibrant streets of Braamfontein to interview people on Mandela Day and the spirit of volunteerism. The questions asked aimed to highlight what people think of volunteerism and the different values that one can learn from being involved in volunteering initiatives. This came ahead of the annual Nelson Mandela Day, where many South Africans will be dedicating 67 minutes of their day to volunteering and helping those who are less fortunate. However, a more important theme of the day is the regeneration of the values that leaders like Mandela embodied and stood by throughout their lives.
Daniels is involved in a food collection drive at Wits University which aims to provide food packages to students who cannot afford to get a meal a day. She feels that the struggle was fought and won by people who were volunteers; they did not get reimbursed after every act of bravery or for activism. She also believes that volunteerism can teach one the spirit of giving and can position them to be an agent of change in society.
Modiba feels volunteerism is important because our society was built on the concept of Ubuntu and engaging in volunteering initiatives that benefit others, is a perfect way of practicing Ubuntu. She stated that volunteering is a very humbling experience and makes one realise that everyone is the same. She also believes that volunteerism can be a platform to bring integration amongst the people of different races in South Africa, but also noted that it would only work if people volunteered in places where a variety of races were present.
Mckenzie says he would like to be involved in initiatives that benefit others, but has not taken initiative in his own capacity to give back actively. He stated that he felt volunteerism is important because it gives one the opportunity to learn from other people in the volunteering environment. He placed special emphasis on helping people of the older generation because they fought for our freedom during the struggle.
Katzavelous and Clark both feel that volunteering should be an act that people engage in more and not just for 67 minutes on Mandela Day. They stated that they try to make time to volunteer at a children’s home, but sometimes cannot because of busy schedules.
Mokete does not volunteer because she does not have enough time. She is family woman and has to also manage an 8-5 job. She however, recognizes the importance of the values that Mandela stood for. She feels it is important to have a good heart and help others whenever one can.