On Friday 17th July we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day, so bring your colleagues, family and friends to stroll through time and experience the 67 years that Madiba dedicated to the freedom of South Africa – on Route 67. This is a call from Pierre Voges, CEO of Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), responsible for developing Route 67 which pays tribute to the life of Mandela while celebrating the heritage, culture and art of Port Elizabeth.
“The tour starts at the Campanile Monument, an old city icon, and climbs a staircase to Vuyisile Mini Square, the centre of the city. Then squeezing through the staircase at St Mary’s, the experience of the route erupts in a celebration of colour, art and heritage that meanders up the Donkin to the great flag at the top of the hill. From here the journey continues along the old streets of the city past art galleries and parks to culminate at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum,” Voges said.
“My wish is for the whole of Nelson Mandela Bay, local and international tourists, to embrace the spirit and persona that Nelson Mandela represented. With Route 67, we believe we have created a special place for all people from all walks of life to connect and be inspired by the life of our first president and father of this nation”.
The agency hopes to inspire locals and visitors to take time out (67 minutes) to follow Route 67 and donate non-perishable food items to needy communities. The MBDA is offering the tour for free and asks that donations of winter goodies like blankets, clothes and non-perishable food be made.
“Because our work is socio-economic in nature, about uplifting derelict areas and empowering people on a daily basis, we needed to find a different way to celebrate Mandela Day. There is a strong connection between Madiba’s values and Route 67, expressed beautifully through artwork and speech extracts along the route and the act of giving,” said MBDA spokesperson Luvuyo Bangazi.
We call on corporates, non-governmental organisations, private citizens and visitors to experience Madiba’s life story. The MBDA has had a long standing relationship with a Central based NGO, Healing-Hands and they will be on site as beneficiaries of the donations. Healing Hands is a non-profit organisation that aims to empower impoverished communities, schools, hospitals and the aged by donating clothes, sporting equipment, toys, blankets and food parcels. Healing Hands also runs a soup kitchen where locals are fed from the produce grown in their garden.
In 1942, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela started to campaign for the human rights of South Africans. He dedicated 67 years to the freedom of his nation. On his 90th birthday celebration Mandela said, “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.” His words inspired Mandela Day which urges everyone to spend 67 minutes to change the world. Mandela believed that each person can do a little bit and jointly make the word a better place.
The Route 67 tours take approximately one and a half hours and recall not only Mandela’s philosophies, but the freedom journey, all the way from the roots of the British Settlers and Sir Rufane Donkin, right through to apartheid and the struggle for freedom.
The MDBA and Tavcor Motor Group recently provided Healing Hands with a vehicle to assist the organisation with access to donors, deliveries and with which to continue making the world a better place.
“Walkers can park at the Donkin pyramid, deposit their warm winter donation into the MBDA’s bright little tuk-tuk, and then make their way down to the Campanile for the start of the tour,” said Bangazi.
Route 67 tours will run in groups of approximately 30 people, four times on Friday, so it is advisable to book ahead. Call 0824646022, visit: www.route67tours.co.za or visit the Donkin Reserve Tourism Information Centre, Belmont Terrace, Central.
- Route 67 tours are free and are available every weekday.
- MBDA assists Healing Hands as part of their CSI.
Author: Mercy Thinyane
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