by Simangele Mzizi 30 Jun 2022
The Hope Exchange

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Mandela Day – Time to give back

Mandela Day is coming up. It’s time to give back to society or do your bit for those less fortunate. Here are some great initiatives to support in the Cape Town CBD.

“Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are”. That’s the global theme for this year’s Mandela Day on 18 July. It once again calls on individuals to honour Madiba’s birthday by working in communities and participating in sustainable interventions with a lasting impact.

Organisers state that in a world in which inequality has been exacerbated by Covid-19, the call to action is “to identify those in need around you and do what you can to make a difference for them”.

The partnership between Neighbourgood, a co-living and workspace company with a footprint in the Cape Town CBD, and Sneaker Lab, a well-known retail outlet providing shoe care products, is one way to make a meaningful contribution. These Central City stakeholders are collecting gently worn sneakers for homeless people at The Hope Exchange until 15 July.

These will be cleaned and handed out on Mandela Day to individuals who depend on the organisation for ablution facilities, meals, clothing, clinic care and social support. Items can be dropped off at the Neighbourgood Cape Quarter Workspace (27 Somerset Rd), Neighbourgood Bree Workspace (129 Bree St) and Neighbourgood East City (60 Corporation St). In the spirit of giving, donors receive a small thank you gift and are entered into a draw for a grand prize.

There are scores of other opportunities to give back this Mandela  Day. Here’s how you can support the work of the CCID’s six NGO partners, who work tirelessly to help the CBD’s homeless population to move off the street.


The CCID’s Social Development department is currently providing 25 additional beds through its NGO partner Youth Solutions Africa (Y.S.A) as part of the department’s annual Winter Readiness Programme. Winter Readiness complements the department’s fundraising campaign, Hope for the Homeless due to be launched this July. John Philmon, who heads YSA, says they would appreciate additional support for the Winter Readiness initiative and on Mandela Day. Items needed include clothing for men and women, toiletries, blankets, shoes, and non-perishable food.

Cnr Russell & Chapel sts, District Six | 074 067 5747 |


Ons Plek Projects, which cares for the needs of 35 vulnerable young girls, wants organisations and corporates that would like to spend Mandela Day at the facility to get in touch. The NGO also has a wish list that includes the following items, which can be dropped off at 7 Malleson Road in Mowbray:

  • Toiletries: toilet paper, conditioner, body lotion, Vaseline, soap, and toothpaste.
  • Clothing items: tights (sizes 26 to 38), flip flops (sizes 2 to 7) and underwear.
  • Household items: two kettles, two ironing boards, two brooms, mops, a dustpan, coffee mugs, plates, cutlery, plastic glassware, a 50-litre pot, can opener, potato peeler and an egg lifter.
  • Housekeeping needs at Ons Plek House in Woodstock and Mowbray: painting job in the kitchen, bedrooms and on the ceiling, installation of a television aerial and curtain rails as well as waterproofing on the roof and a ceiling replacement.

7 Malleson Rd, Mowbray |021 685 4052/49 |

The Homestead

The Homestead Yizani Drop-in Centre.


The Homestead Projects for Street Children needs help with collecting 467 shoes and sneakers for girls and boys in its eight centres who are between six and 12 years old. The NGO believes “the long walk to empowerment starts with shoes” and would be grateful if people dropped off a pair at its head office at 150 Strand St. Alternatively, donors can support The Homestead by donating R170 here. The shoes will be handed to children on 18 July during a fun day at each centre. The NGO assists chronically neglected male children that end up on the street by providing accommodation, food, and a reintegration programme. Acting director Maria Sikaundi says play and recreation are important elements of health and stability and “these donations would be of much value to the children in our care and we would be very grateful for the support in reaching our target”.

150 Strand St | 021 419 9763 |

Khulisa Streetscapes garden

The vegetable garden at Khulisa Social Solutions' Streetscapes work-based rehabilitation programme.


CCID partner NGO Khulisa Social Solutions provides sheltered employment within the green economy to chronically homeless participants through its Streetscapes work-based rehabilitation programme, and assists with social work sessions to reintegrate them into society. For Mandela Day and this winter, the NGO needs help with warm blankets for project participants. Jesse Laitinen, manager of strategic partnerships at Khulisa Social Solutions, says some Streetscapes beneficiaries are giving back on Mandela Day and will spend time at the ACVV old age home with residents and will plant succulents in their garden.

Roeland St next to Food Lovers Market (Urban Garden and eco-laundromat) | 021 465 6112 |

Straatwerk - Bath House

The Straatwerk Bath House.


Straatwerk provides structured work opportunities for men and women living on the street so they can improve their conditions. Hannes van der Merwe, the CEO of Straatwerk Ophelp Projekte, says while support on Mandela Day is welcome, “the help required where homelessness is concerned is sustained help over 365 days per year, and that is what Ophelp is and does”. He encourages members of the public to visit on Mandela Day or on any other day to observe what their work entails. Other ways of lending a hand include making monetary donations, sponsoring shift work for participants on the programme or getting in touch to enquire about supporting the Ophelp Training Fund.

37 Chiappini St, Bo-Kaap | 021 425 0140 |

IMAGES: Carmen Lorraine