Capitec’s Hooked on Helping and the 67 Blankets for Mandela Foundation, formed by Carolyn Steyn, have proudly joined forces to provide more blankets to more South Africans. 

Each year on July 18th – our late former President Nelson Mandela’s birthday – communities throughout South Africa gather to spread goodwill through acts of community service. Whether through the number of minutes taken, hours involved, our items donated, each Mandela Day communities reference the number 67 – the same number of years that Nelson Mandela contributed of his life towards the struggle against apartheid.

In December 2013, Zelda la Grange, Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, presented philanthropist and ‘Arts Angel’, Carolyn Steyn, with a challenge: knit, sew, or crochet 67 blankets which would then be distributed to those in need on Mandela Day.

Since then, under Carolyn’s charge, the challenge has grown into a movement which, each Mandela Day and beyond, seeks to make blankets and distribute them to the needy. 

Today, thousands of people and communities around the world collectively contribute blankets towards the 67 Blankets for Mandela Foundation initiative which has even broken a Guinness World Record for the “The Largest Crochet Blanket in the World” measuring 3,377 square meters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. 

Capitec has proudly joined forces with 67 Blankets to help provide more blankets for more South Africans. Through the Hooked on Helping initiative, Capitec staff give their time and effort to crochet blankets which are then donated to various charities.

 “We’ve realised the importance of volunteering”, says Neptal Khoza, Head of CSI at Capitec, where staff are encouraged to give “their time and skills, as well as the resources to help communities”.

This year, Capitec took the initiative a step further by donating wool in a unique partnership that empowered women to both learn a new skill, and donate their crocheted blanket to someone in need. Ellen-Ann Finnemore, CSI Co-ordinator at Capitec, quips that “I was listening to a radio interview, and I heard Carolyn speak about 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela, and I thought – well, we can do that!”

“The idea behind Hooked On Helping”, elaborates Ellen-Ann, “was that women give their time, and Capitec sponsors us wool. They take that wool into their homes, and they start teaching themselves how to do this work – my whole aim is that if you can teach a woman to crochet, she can teach her child to crochet – and that brings our generations together!”

As communities, staff, and family partnered together, the blankets were quickly spun and delivered to women and children in need – where meaningful connections were made between donors and beneficiaries. As Ellen-Ann remarks, the initiative makes a colourful contribution to many lives.

“We’re so grateful to Capitec Bank who have really come on board in such a big way”, says Carolyn. “Together, we’ve achieved remarkable things and they’ve been so generous… they have bought wool for thousands of people across the country – because there are so many people who have the will, but do not have the wool.”