DURBAN - LAST year, Mandela Day’s 67 minutes were spent differently to previous years as the country had begun adjusting to the new normal under Covid-19 restrictions.
This year on Mandela Day, the country found itself in a dark place following the violent looting and pillaging that snowballed into billions of rands in economic losses, and worse, the loss of lives.
In Durban, some spent their Mandela Day cleaning up the debris in the aftermath of the violent protests and looting.
A part of their 67 minutes, various communities came together and started cleaning a number of streets and malls that were plundered.
Cindy Wadsworth, Katie Pillinger and Michaela Geytenbeek were three people who co-ordinated and came up with the Clean Up Durban campaign.
“I started the Clean Up Durban Facebook page on Wednesday, July 14, after what happened. We have done many clean up operations in the city, including Queen Nandi Drive, Westmead and Springfield. We celebrated our Mandela Day by cleaning up Cornubia Industrial Park for Mandela Day,” said Wadsworth.
She said SA as a nation had shown unity so many times in the past.
Michaela Geytenbeek from La Lucia said there was a need for unity to make the change that people wanted to see around them.
“Change is in the hands of the people. We just need to realise how powerful we really are with our small movements and initiatives and I just wanted to be part of the people who turn something bad into good,” said Geytenbeek.
The Clean-Up Campaign was also fuelled by help from a few donors.
SPAR donated cold drinks to the cleaners.
Darius van Niekerk from Waste Plan helped with staff who were part of the campaign; MPACT Recycling loaded the debris away; Duane Taylor from Turfbag donated 600 garbage bags; and Johnson’s Mini Skips helped with skips.
“I joined the campaign because I am proudly South African and I know that challenges create character and South Africa is a country with much character. I know that when we stand together, great things happen,” said Westville resident Katie Pillinger.
Other areas cleaned during the campaign were Midway Crossing Mall in Newlands West, Pinetown central business district, Claremont, New Germany, Tongaat, Montclair Mall, Albert Park and central Durban.
Durbanites were all invited through the Clean up Durban Facebook page that now has about 7 000 followers.