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City gives Eyethu Centre a birthday gift on Madiba Day


Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo (JPC&Z) staffers spent Mandela Day on Monday July 18 at the Eyethu Centre for the Disabled in Mofolo South, Soweto, sprucing it up and giving it a new lease of life in honour of the late former president and international icon’s legacy.
Interestingly, JPC&Z’s activities to mark Madiba’s birthday at the centre coincided with the facility’s 10th anniversary.  Eyethu Centre was founded by Thoko Sarah Maphanga in 2006 to cater for children with severe and profound intellectual impairments.
July 18 was declared International Nelson Mandela Day by the United Nations in November 2009 in recognition of the 67 years he spent fighting for freedom, justice and equality. Every year since then millions of people all over the world dedicate 67 minutes of their time on the day to social causes.
Clad in green overalls and work suits, JCP&Z staffers rolled up their sleeves and got down to business as soon as the 67-minutes bell rang, painting the facility, cleaning windows, planting vegetables in the food garden and preparing meals.
Maphanga said JCP&Z approached the centre two months ago indicating its intention to celebrate Mandela's birthday with the children and to help spruce up the facility.  “We definitely had a great need for such assistance. There is no doubt that we have been covered. We would have not been able to afford this on our own. As Eyethu we are grateful and excited at what has been achieved today,” said Maphanga.
Vava Tulwana, of JCP&Z’s Stakeholder Relations Department, who was co-ordinating the event, said the City of Johannesburg’s greening entity had always had a relationship with the physically challenged.  “As JCP&Z we believe we've heeded the call to help change lives. Our plan is to run such events until the end of Mandela month. We would, however, not have managed to do this without the help of our sponsors,” said Tulwana.
The day also saw members of the Gauteng Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) donate several clothing items to the centre.