Relate Trust hosted the Battle of My 67 Beads at the V&A Waterfront on Thursday July 13 to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela School Library Project. This is the fourth annual event held around Mandela Day to honour senior citizens.
Local celebrities – Lindy Hibbard, Matthew Booth, Sox Georgiades (DJ Sox), Quintin Goliath (Jitsvinger), Zoe Brown, Zola Nene, Schalk Bezuidenhout, Roxy Marosa, Liezel van der Westhuizen and Kamini Pather – each paired up with one of the beading gogos and tatas of the Relate Trust in an intense 67-minute competition to bead the best bracelet.
“I’d like to think that we generate awareness not necessarily on the day but through social media. Hopefully we can stimulate interest and get people involved,” said former South African soccer player, Matthew Booth, who has participated in the beading challenge for three consecutive years.
Relate Trust is a 100% not-for-profit organisation that sells bracelets predominately made by elderly, refugees and township youth. The bracelets that are sold raise money for social upliftment initiatives and provide an income for the people that make the bracelets.
“Every Relate bracelet sold also supports these seniors who thread the beads to supplement their pensions. Many of them care for their grandchildren and others orphaned by HIV/Aids,” the Relate Trust said in a press release.
One of the gogos, Nokwanda Beja, has been beading bracelets for 3 years and said she enjoys making friends and being able to work.
“When you stay home you find things that are not so nice, but when I come here I am at peace,” Ms Beja said.
Mr Booth believes the work Relate Trust does with the senior citizens is important.
“In today’s society our gogos, our grandparents are still under a lot of pressure to support their families and I’ve always found that it’s quite unfair…They should be enjoying the fruits of their labour and that dynamic hopefully will change but in the meantime it is important that events like this and organisations like Relate help them,” Mr Booth said.
The bracelets sold will give funding to the Nelson Mandela School Library Project to refurbish, stock and donate container libraries to underprivileged schools throughout the country.
“We felt this event would be a fitting tribute to the great man Nelson Mandela in what would have been his centenary year, while celebrating the seniors who work hard to produce the bracelets that support so many worthy causes like the Nelson Mandela Library Project,” Relate Trust CEO Neil Robinson said.
Personality and skin care entrepreneur Roxy Marosa participated in the bead challenge for the first time. She said she did not think twice about getting involved because the educational aspect of the project was important to her.
“I love education because I believe it’s something no one can ever take away from you and it’s one way of empowerment, a person can build from it and you can make something for yourself or even for the community,” Ms Marosa said.
During the 67-minute-long competition the participants planned, designed and threaded a bracelet. There were some overachievers who went above and beyond by creating even three bracelets a team.
The gogo and tata and their designated celebrity team member were judged based on team spirit, threading technique, use of colour, among other elements.
The judges included Andrew Smith from the V&A Waterfront, Munier Barden from Tourvest Destination Retail, Helen Lieberman from Ikavama Labantu, as well as South African jewellery designer Katherine-Mary Pichulik.
Despite the efforts of all the teams, Sox Georgiades (DJ Sox) and one of the beading gogos and tatas, Elphia Ngalo, came out on top and won the competition.
The bracelets made by the teams were entered into a lucky draw for those who purchased a Relate Mandela Day bracelet.