Nelson Mandela – freedom fighter, statesman and for many a hero. Wednesday 18 July would have been his 100th birthday, a special occasion honoured also by the local property industry to commemorate Madiba’s legacy through acts of goodwill.
According to the Brand South Africa website the idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Nelson Mandela himself when he said during his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 that it is time for new hands to lift the burdens. He died at the age of 95 on 5 December 2013.
The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009. Since then, all over the world and locally in every town and city Madiba’s values and dedication to serve others have been celebrated by people donating of their time and resources to help others less fortunate.
Many local property agencies also joined in with various initiatives to show their support. We asked a few to show us what they did and to share some short thoughts on the day.
Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group says: “As we celebrate what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, we remember an incredible man who was a leader among leaders and a great hero of the world’s history. Madiba has given us all a gift that lives on, our freedom, democracy, equality, truth and peace. As a nation we need to come together to protect and prolong these gifts. We should make sure that these principles are being applied in our daily personal and professional lives, in this way there will be no room for negativity and unrest.”
“Nelson Mandela was an inspirational leader who encouraged others to think beyond just themselves by considering the greater good each individual action can achieve. At RE/MAX, we try to honour his legacy through continually seeking to serve our local communities in any way we can,” explains Amanda Cuba, Director and COO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
“To celebrate the legacy of Madiba, our Regional Support Office handed over a monetary contribution along with our collection of winter clothes and non-perishable food items, collected during our Coats & Cans campaign in June, to the O.W.L Haven Shelter in Landsdowne. The rest of our office spent their 67 minutes at Kalk Bay doing a beach clean-up. Throughout the country, our 166 individual offices spent their 67 contributing to their local communities in some shape or form, from community clean-ups to donation drives, sandwich lines and everything in between,” says Cuba.
Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty gave the Zama Dance School in Gugulethu, Cape Town, a water tank as they had absolutely no water owing to the drought and their toilets were out of commission. The agency also gave a donation to Operation Smile which engages itself in fixing cleft palates of children by means of an operation which costs R5,500 per operation. They donated 10 smiles to honour Madiba Day.
“Mr Mandela was my hero and I had the good fortune to sell one of his properties mandated by the ANC in Houghton,” says Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
Pam Golding Properties supports a broad range of community initiatives and charitable projects around the country – both during the year and on Mandela Day. One of these is Sea Vista Disney Creche in St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape, which the local Pam Golding Properties office assists at various times during the year, including last Christmas and more recently Mandela Day in 2018.
Says Richard Arderne, Pam Golding Properties area principal: “Disney Creche is situated in a previously disadvantaged area and so many of the children in the community go there. Attendance can range up to 72 children.
“Such was the success of our Christmas project, where we donated blankets to the creche, we decided to do the same during our 67 minutes for Mandela Day.”
Leapfrog partnered with the Organ Donor Foundation to raise awareness about the need for people to sign up to consent to being organ donors. Leapfrog offices around the country are serving as registration points for members of the public to become organ donors. Mandela Day marked the start of this campaign but it will continue for the rest of the year.
“At Leapfrog the spirit of Madiba inspires us in a profound way. His legacy informs our commitment to transformation, empowerment and using our work as a vehicle to see a more economically just society for all South Africans. We’re proud to be associated with the Organ Donor Foundation, an organisation that does remarkable work that literally saves lives and we want to encourage everybody to join us in making a difference,” says Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
Just Property Head Office travelled to Grahamstown where the team served lunch and played with the children from the Home of Joy Child and Youth Centre. They even had cake celebrating Madiba’s 100th birthday. Each child also received a warm tracksuit.
They also visited The Home of Joy Child and Youth Centre where they met Ma Margaret who has been taking care of children for over 24 years.
Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts South Africa, says Harcourts initiated many activities aimed at assisting those in need of a helping hand on Mandela Day and beyond. “It is imperative that agents, often the people in the community with a finger on the pulse of the circumstances of the community, showcase the ability to unite a region and assist those in their plight. We are very proud of our Mandela Day projects and we appreciate all our partners and sponsors who assisted,” ends Gray.
The Harcourts Winelands team and sponsors renovated the Jakkerland creche in Jamestown Stellenbosch while Harcourts 4Ways painted the Ilima learning centre.
Engel & Völkers Centurion spent their 67 minutes handing out food parcels, the Durbanville shop spent the day at Bright Star Children’s home and Potchefstroom gave their time to the 4-legged friends at PAWS just to name but a few.
“Nelson Mandela is a true world icon, and the headway he made for our economy and property market was absolutely phenomenal, and we cannot let this be in vain. Although we are hopefully seeing a stabilisation happening on the political front under the stewardship of President Ramaphosa, the economy is still facing a number of challenges before we will start seeing significant economic growth. It is going to take the combined effort from all South Africans to get back on the path that Nelson Mandela set out on.
“For the property market to truly prosper we need to see equality, education, employment and real economic growth for the citizens of South Africa that need it the most. This is what will drive getting South Africans onto the prosperous property ownership ladder” says Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.
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