Community spirit triumphs for nature and humanity

Every year SCOUTS South Africa’s members come together to honour our late patron Nelson Mandela on Mandela Day.  A national campaign with a call to action unites members nationwide in support of community members in need or a specific charity.

Over the past years we collected “Jars of Hope” for hungry families in communities nationwide. This year, we opted to help people gain their independence and mobility by collecting enough bread tags and plastic tops to provide them with a wheelchair through the organisations “Breadtags for Wheelchairs” and “The Sweethearts Foundation”. Simultaneously, the campaign also tied into SCOUTS South Africa’s National Challenge where young people are being encouraged to be Champions for Nature.

Over 223 Scout members and families joined this year’s Mandela Day campaign and collected a whopping 1757,38kg of bread tags and plastic tops! With a collection of 5.1kg of bread tags and 518.08kg of bottle tops the 1st Muizenberg Sea Scout Group in the Two Oceans District in the Western Cape Scout Region topped the Leaderboard created to highlight our member contributions.

We spoke to Scout Group Leader Angela lee-Wright  on how they managed this enormous contribution that on its own is enough to support one wheelchair. “Our team of Scouters challenged our youth members to collect as many bottle tops and bread tags as they could during the holidays. Over the years, we have also built a strong relationship with our local community and so we decided to send out a public call too, which was met with enthusiasm. We even had a local restaurant – Joons – offer their space as a drop off point for those wanting to donate to the cause. Many of our Scouters and parents would also personally collect from people in the community if they were unable to get to the drop off point”, she explains.

“One of the biggest challenges we had was repacking all the bottle tops into bags that wouldn’t split. We had Meerkats, Cubs, Scouts, Rovers, Scouters and parents spending hours getting the job done! This campaign has been close to my heart as my dad is in a wheelchair and I know the daily struggles he faces, so I can’t imagine what it must be like to not have access to one. I am very proud of our whole Group for the monumental effort they put in to achieving this result”, says Angela with a smile.

The second Group on the Leaderboard is another Group from the Two Oceans District, namely 1st Meadowridge.  When approached, District Commissioner Conrad Thomas had the following to say: ” Amazing effort put in by the Two Oceans District Groups 1st Muizenberg and 1st Meadowridge in collecting Top & Tags for Mandela Day 2023,.. enough for nearly 2 wheelchairs. We have set the bar high and the challenge is out there for other Groups to equal or better this next year, in supporting this worthy cause.”