Soweto – Mandela Day should be a reminder to all of the importance of volunteerism, Energy Deputy Minister Thembisile Majola said on Monday.
“Mandela Day is a very important day for us. Apart from celebrating what would have been the 98th birthday of uTata Madiba. It’s a day that tells us of the importance of volunteerism,” Deputy Minister Majola told SAnews.
This, as the world today commemorates International Mandela Day. On this day the public are encouraged to be involved in community service by doing something good for 67 minutes in honour of the 67 years that former President Nelson Mandela dedicated to public service.
Deputy Minister Majola spent the day at the Sizwile School for deaf Children in Dobsonville, Soweto, where she interacted with children at the school. She spent time sweeping the school’s premises and also tended to the school’s vegetable garden.
The Deputy Minister encouraged pupils at the school to study science so as to become scientists one day.
“The fact that they are deaf does not make them less abled than any other child to achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve. They can be scientists and role models for others. They can do everything that any other child can do,” explained the Deputy Minister.
The department has donated solar lamps to the school and will also retrofit all lighting at the school. “We’ve come with solar lamps because there are 80 students who reside on the school premises so we thought each one of them can have a lamp,” said the Deputy Minister.
In addition, the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi), an entity of the department of energy, will also donate a bio digester to the school, its Chief Executive Officer Kevin Nassiep said.
A bio digester is an instrument that is used in the process of turning waste into gas that can be used for cooking.
Deputy Minister Majola said the department, together with Sanedi, visited the school so as to get an understanding of what life is like for hearing impaired children.
“Many people don’t even know how to greet in sign language. We take many things for granted,” said Deputy Minister Majola before she asked how to say “hello” and “I love you” in sign language.
School principal M Luvhimbi thanked the department for visiting the school that caters for hearing impaired children from Grade R up to Grade 9.
The school relies on government subsidies and donations from various organisations as well as support from parents and members of the Dobsonville community.
“Today is such an important day and we feel very honoured to have the department here,” said Principal Luvhimbi.
Multinational company Intertek also donated toys and garden tools to the school.