CityLife Arts

Stronger together in times of pandemic as Carolyn Steyn launches Springbok Blanket

The event, under the auspices of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela held at Steyn City yesterday attracted luminaries, including former President Thabo Mbeki.

By Edward Tsumele

The event was delayed for several months due to the difficult and uncertain situation the country finds itself in –the lingering and dangerous  coronavirus that has wreaked havoc with people’s social and business life throughout the world since it broke out in late 2019, and has since spread throughout the world.  The virus has left thousands dead, families grieving and economies decimated.

But eventually it happened Wednesday, June 9, 2021, when the big reveal of the Springbok Blanket for 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela eventually took place at Steyn City in Fourways.

The event which was started by actress, broadcaster and philanthropist Carolyn Steyn a few years ago and has since become a big national event with international vibrations and tentacles, attracted big shots in society, including former President Thabo Mbeki, politician Bantu Holomisa and current and former members of the Springboks, including Tendai ‘ Beast’ Mtawarira who has since retired and is involved in charity work in South Africa and his native Zimbabwe.  At the event in which luminaries in society braved the cold weather and the Third Wave, also saw the Beats joined by colleagues Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus, and John Smit.

This sprawling blanket has words Stronger Together scribbled on it, referencing the fact that when the Springboks won the World Cup in 2019 they used this motto, and little did we know that we would be pulled apart by a pandemic that demanded lockdowns and social distancing in the few short months following the victory.

Carolyn Steyn

But through it all, the “KnitWits” of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day have embraced this iconic motto, and on Wednesday, June, 9, 2021,  Erasmus, Smit and the Beast showed their colours in the #BokkeBlanket Reveal at Steyn City School, Steyn City. They were joined by several dignitaries who were entertained by musicians. Those that attended must have forgotten for a moment that we are faced with a global pandemic n that very moment that united South Africans for a good cause..

The blankets made by volunteers, most of whom are not professionals knitters, including prison volunteers are distributed every winter to those who cannot afford blankets during the often bitingly chilly season in South Africa.

Former President Thabo Mbeki and philanthropist Carolyn Steyn

And this huge Springbok blanket, made with the words Stronger Together is clearly an encouragement to South Africans to stand together to fight this invisible but fatal virus lingering in the air.

South Africa is currently facing a resurgence in infections due to the Third Wave that is here, but the race to vaccinate as many people as possible is on, with those aged 60 years and above receiving priority in this current exercise.

And the giant blanket itself in green and gold, also  with the South African flag embedded in the design,  is an attractive piece of art that was clearly made with love by those who contributed their time and skill to this good cause during these uncertain times.

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