Mandela Day, this Saturday 18 July, is an opportunity to get involved for just 67 minutes, one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service. Mandela is quoted as saying:

Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”

To make those minutes count, here is a selection of events focussed on improving the lives of women in South Africa. If you don’t find something here that you’re interested in, make sure to visit ForGood and the official Mandela Day website.

Help Rape Crisis Cape Town in their Care Pack Drive

Rape Crisis is the oldest organisation in South Africa working to support rape survivors. Between 10 and 3 this Saturday at the Mowbray Town Hall (129 Rhodes Avenue, Mowbray, Cape Town) volunteer your time and, if possible, donations of toiletries to fill the care packs with (underwear, shampoo/conditioner, body wash/soap, toothpaste/toothbrush, sanitary pads, nappies). These care packs assist survivors after reporting a sexual offence, providing them with comfort and dignity after an extensive forensic examination.

If you can’t make it on the day, but would still like to be a part of the initiative, contact Shahida Rahman on 021 447 1467 to drop off items, make bulk donations. To make a cash donation to the project, click here.

• Help End Abortion Stigma

Between 11 and 1 this Saturday at the Marie Stopes Office (91 Bree Street, Cape Town) participate in a dialogue on ending abortion stigma in Cape Town, and find out how you can become a volunteer for future projects. Abortion stigma contributes to unsafe abortion, endangering pregnant people’s health and well-being. RSVP required: email endabortionstigmaSA@gmail.com

• Support #Trek4Mandela and keep girls in school during their periods

Girls can miss up to 50 days of school every year simply because they lack sanitary products. Maya the Vodacom CO of Corporate Affairs will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro this Mandela Day to keep young girls in schools. The initiative aims to provide 67 000 sanitary packs to school girls. To donate and support the initiative sms ‘Maya’ to 42513 to donate R30.

• Help House of Hadassah by volunteering for 1 – 4 hours in Boksburg

House of Hadassah, based in Boksburg Gauteng, helps young girls from children’s homes who have a matric by providing accommodation, tertiary education and skills development. They are looking for volunteers to help paint rooms, and do some general maintenance at their centre. To find out more details, get in touch via 084 603 6107.

• Make a donation to an organisation in need:

If you’d like to assist by making donations (cash, food, stationery) check out these:

Great Girls (Western Cape) – looking for biscuits, fruit juice, milk etc to provide snacks whilst the girls are receiving skills development training.

The Salvation Army Strathyre (Gauteng) – looking for canned and dry foods for feeding girls.

Crossroads Teen Centre (KZN) – looking for a whiteboard, markers, pens and basic stationsery for teens to use when tutoring.

Sophie A Kanza Foundation (Gauteng) – looking for sanitary towels, soap, face cloths, deodorant to provide to young girls so they don’t miss school.

The Cradle of Hope (Gauteng) – looking for financial and food donations for a shelter.

Optimystic Bikers against Abuse (Northern Cape) – looking for corporate sponsorship for advocacy workshops.

• Help Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre by donating or sponsoring prizes for World Breastfeeding Week (Gauteng)

• Help Iranti-Org by donating t-shirts for their runners for the Mandela Marathon.

Of course, supporting women through activism shouldn’t only be a once-off event, but days like Mandela Day remind us of the responsibility to take time and engage with the communities we live in to ensure that they’re supportive of women’s rights, safe for women, and part of a more gender equitable South Africa. This doesn’t have to mean 67 minutes at a charity or spending a huge amount of money. Some other options include:

• Spending 67 minutes talking with your children about the things boys and girls can do, browse through magazines they might pick up and engage with them about the advertising they see. Build their confidence in their ability to be whole, happy people, regardless of gender norms.
• Spend 67 minutes making yourself more familiar with your rights and make sure you know how to exercise them. Share this information with your mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends.