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Joy all round as Mandela Day fever starts to grip Joburg Print E-mail
17 July 2017

Madiba magic filled the air as more than 400 people gathered at the Roodepoort Theatre precinct on Saturday July 15 at the start of the City of Johannesburg’s Mandela Day celebrations – three days before what would have been the late world icon’s 99th birthday.

There was a joyous celebration all round as senior citizens and children – bussed in from far and wide – mingled and danced to the melodic sounds of the 24-piece Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) ceremonial brass band.

Organised by the theatre and Region C’s Health Department in partnership with the Alexander Harvest Foundation and Kofifi Radio and Television, the event, described as “fantastic” by the revellers, was enjoyed by all.

Pastor Carl Alexander of the Alexander Harvest Foundation, JMPD’s Superintendent Abel Charlie and spokesman Wayne Minnaar, Roodepoort Theatre Manager Pritheven Pillay, bandmaster Jeff Cole and the theatre’s Customer Service Manager, Thatho Phiri, beamed as they watched the crowd mingle, dance and share hot soup on a chilly morning.

The children had their faces painted while others had a field day on the colourful jumping castle. Cupcakes were served in the large white marquee. The children were also handed toys made possible by Nedbank, one of the event’s sponsors.

Grannies from the Yellow Rose Club in Westbury also had a good time. Catching their breath after dancing up a storm, three of the 55 senior citizens – Jeannette Cloete, Merle Ferland and Victoria Myles – said they were delighted to be at the event.

“This is fantastic; we should do it more often. The fact that this is in honour of Madiba makes it even more fantastic,” said Cloete.

“It’s our first time to take part and we are enjoying the entertainment. It’s very good.” Ferland and Myles agreed.
“We get very little entertainment [as senior citizens],” said Ferland.

Myles added: “The dancing is fabulous. I didn’t expect it to be so much fun. This is such an enjoyable day.”
Pastor Alexander said he was delighted at the turnout. He said for him and his family, Mandela Day was “a labour of love”.

“We have to assist the youth to learn and understand our history. For the past three years, we have been working with the South African Police Service, JMPD and the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services to spread the educational programme, which includes crime prevention, road safety and prevention of child abuse. We are also working with old age homes and orphanages and offer counselling to families,” Alexander said.

Pillay said the event was a “service to the community. We sponsor the food and transport. The seven groups that performed here today did it free.”

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Last Updated on 17 July 2017