Building Madiba's legacy brick by brick

Mandela Day may come once a year, but for the child-headed Dlula household today’s centenary commemoration will be one they will remember for years to come.

The family is the beneficiary of one of the 70 houses being built to commemorate the day.

Mandela Day is celebrated annually on 18 July, the birthday of the father of the nation, as the late former President Nelson Mandela was affectionately known. It is a day used to champion the values held by Mandela of service and lending a hand to your fellow man.

To mark the centenary of the late statesman and icon, non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements and the Nelson Mandela Foundation are building homes for those in need in Lawley, south of Johannesburg.

Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo participated in a brick-laying exercise as part of the Mandela Day commemorations alongside the Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Dikgang Moiloa.

Mfeketo said the building of houses is about giving people dignity as envisioned by Mandela, who not only fought for political freedom but also for the right to human dignity.

“Mandela fought so that people could have dignity and part of that is for people to have houses,” said the Minister.

Adding to the Minister’s remarks, the MEC said human dignity is a right bestowed on every one. "Access to a home is the dignity that everyone deserves,” said Moiloa.

Beneficiaries of these new homes include the elderly, people living with disabilities, child-headed families and the destitute.

Construction and Civil engineering company, Temi Construction, is tasked with the building of the homes.

With a mission to ensure that people have a decent place to live, the NPO and the department partnered with others sponsors such as the Development Bank SA, NedBank, Sage Foundation, Old Mutual, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Cash Build and Colgate.

Volunteers from these organisations rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty, to do their bit for the less fortunate.

Grade 12 pupil Lihle Dlula, who has aspirations to become a human resource practitioner, and her 24 year-old brother will as a result of these efforts have a roof over their heads.

The siblings hail from Tsomo in the Eastern Cape but currently reside in the Lawley Township where Lihle’s brother works as a taxi-driver to put food on the table.

Noting the impact of this initiative, Habitat for Humanity National Director Patrick Kulati said people must emulate Mandela’s values to serve people and join efforts to combat challenges.

“Government alone cannot do it. We need business, the NGOs and the private sector...This building of houses is not a once-off thing or a hit and run. For us as Habit for Humanity it is important that we stay within the community and help develop that community,” said Kulati. – SAnews.gov.za

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