It’s Madiba month and today is Mandela Day, a day of philanthropy launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July. It was inspired by Madiba’s speech on 27 June 2008 on the occasion of his 90th birthday in London’s Hyde Park. He called upon the leaders of all nations to help change the world for the better. “It’s in your hands now,” he urged.  On this day people around the world, are encouraged to spend at least 67 minutes doing something positive for their communities in recognition of the 67 years that the late Nelson Mandela spent fighting for social justice, peace and a free, democratic country.

This year Guvon Hotels & Spas once again took on the 67 blanket “KnitWits” challenge and chose to knit or crochet squares to be incorporated into blankets. Happily our staff’s enthusiasm has grown over the years for this heart-warming project and our blanket contributions this year is a whopping 286 blankets – that is 101 more blankets than we knitted last year!!

Some fun facts are that we used 2060 balls of wool to knit these blankets – that is 479 kilometres of yarn that our 96 knit knitted. That is the distance you would travel from Askari Lodge in Magaliesburg all the way to Umbhaba Lodge in Hazyview a distance of 470.6 kilometres. It would have taken our KnitWits 15 days to knit all these blankets if they sat knitting 24 hours a day.


This proud blanket crocheting and knitting tradition stems from an idea that was proposed to Carolyn Steyn in 2013, the founder of this project, by Zelda la Grange, Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, with a challenge to knit, sew or crochet 67 blankets! These blankets would then be distributed to those in need on Mandela Day. Since then, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day has transformed into what some are calling a movement that has captured the attention of many South African and international celebrities.

Guvon Hotels and Spas got wind of this great idea and our staff and management picked up the knitting and crochet needles to join the movement as “KnitWits for Madiba” . Not only has our staff been knitting their squares for the charity blankets for Madiba Day, but they have continued knitting throughout the year and donated blankets to our surrounding orphanages, schools and charities.

“We are extremely proud that our employees have embraced this challenge and produced these beautiful colourful blankets which we are handing over to Carolyn Steyn from 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day today,” says Grant Sandham, Sales & Marketing Director at Guvon Hotels & Spas. “So much love and devotion has gone into this project and we love the fact that we are contributing to keeping people warm from all walks of life”.

The best part of the day after the staffs’ excitement and the certificate hand-outs was when Carolyn Steyn and her team took ownership of our 286 blankets at Guvon Hotels head office. This was a proud combined effort from all the hotels in the group as well as Guvon Academy.

This is how we knit a nation together by making every day a Mandela Day – stitch by stitch, one blanket at a time.

We know what we will be doing – what will you be doing with your #67 Minutes #TIME2SERVE #MANDELADAY?

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