Staff and students of Stellenbosch University (SU) showed that there are more than '100 ways to impact'. Staff not only commemorated Mandela's 100th birthday in the SU's Centenary year but also worked towards 'being a legacy' in many ways.
Faculties, departments and centres of SU held a wide variety of events on Mandela Day and the days to follow that made an impact on society. They are continuing with these events throughout the rest of July. From as seemingly small an act as a teddy bear being given to a sick child to a big building being painted, SU's social impact initiatives were felt in communities around Stellenbosch and in Tygerberg and Bellville.
Three weeks ago, the staff of the Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) in Stellenbosch took out their knitting needles to create at least 100 teddy bears and toiletries for the children in Tygerberg Hospital.
“It was fun and therapeutic when staff met over lunch hours to knit the bears. Happily, we reached our goal. Now we will start knitting soft toys for next year's Mandela Day," said Delisha van Neel from the Social Engagement Forum of the CSCD. Delisha van Neel and other Social Engagement Committee members drove the Knitting Circle Project.
While the staff of the CSCD took more than 100 knitted toys and toiletries to Tygerberg Hospital on Mandela Day, the Faculty of Science demonstrated another way of impacting. Scientists Prof Catharine Esterhuysen, Ms Peta Steyn, Mr Jabu Lukhele, Dr Gurthwin Bosman and Dr Pieter Neethling, together with other staff members attended the event providing great entertainment with chemistry demonstrations and games for learners from Kylemore High School. Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus from the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science organised the Science event and was assisted by Ms Nontsikelelo Langa. BSc chemistry students also performed the Minions show, an annual chemistry magic show organised by AlchemUS, the student chemistry association at SU.
Prof Louise Warnich, Dean: Faculty of Science, joined the event. In her address, she told the learners that the Faculty is also, like SU and Mandela, celebrating its 100th birthday. “We too believe, like Madiba did, that education is important. The Faculty also started small, in one room, where the students were trained, and all the glassware and chemicals were kept in a small cabinet. Today, after 100 years, we have many laboratories and the best equipment," she added. A big birthday cake with the number 100 on was shared with the learners of Kylemore after the candle on the cake was lit with a laser beam. The Faculty also donated some glassware and chemicals to the school's science laboratory.
In the meantime, more than 120 staff members of SU's Division of Facilities Management, its contractors and staff of the Purchasing and Provision Services Division descended on Kuyasa Horizon Development, a community project in Kayamandi in Stellenbosch.
The volunteers upgraded the vegetable garden and its fencing, removed rubble, did plumbing and rainwater tank maintenance, planted trees, repaired roof leaks, did paintwork, established a fire evacuation plan and provided a fire training course for employees, did electrical repairs and donated computers to the computer training facility.
The Director of Kuyasa, Pastor Nkosinathi Sixabayi, said that Kayamandi, because of poverty and crime, does not always experience the 'sweetness of home'. 'Kayamandi' means 'sweet home' in isiXhosa. To read more, click here.
And, more on the active side, Maties Sport hosted a Sport's Day for over 200 learners from Devon Valley Primary in Stellenbosch. Maties Sports staff and coaches took part in the games played. The day kicked off with a 'Walk with me' walk of 67 minutes. To see the picture gallery, click here.
Even the very small children got their share of fun when the Centre of Learning Technologies (CLT) took 55 toddlers with their 5 teachers from Siyanqoba Crèche in Kayamandi to the Stellenbosch Square Spur. The friendship between the CLT and Siyanqoba had already started in 2016, with the CLT reaching out to the crèche every year with activities from painting the school building, providing learning supplies, building a Wendy house and installing a flush toilet to organising a morning outing at the Spur where face painting, a big climbing structure, pizza and a party pack to take home were waiting. To read more, click here.
At Tygerberg, residents of the Sarepta Old Age Home were pampered with beauty treatments, while other volunteers cleaned the area under the bridge in Francie van Zijl Drive. The Tygerberg Pantry Project also held a fun walk on campus. The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences' (FMHS) Mandela Day initiatives even touched the Avian Park community in Worcester where the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health partnered with the accountancy firm, Price Waterhouse Coopers to donate 80 blankets and clothing items to people in this underserved community. To read more about the activities at Tygerberg, click here.
Lastly, many other faculties, departments and divisions donated comfort packs and food to students at Stellenbosch and Tygerberg. Continuous donations of food, sanitary products and other necessities are made at the CSCD, the Transformation Office, the Language Centre and Tygerberg Campus. These donations are for the needy students of SU.