South Africa: July is known by many as Mandela Month; people work together in harmony to transform the lives of others in remembering and celebrating former president Nelson Mandela.
In November 2009, the 18 of July was officially declared an International Nelson Mandela Day by the United Nations. This year, the world observed people celebrating this annual day under the theme “It is in your hands, solidarity in reducing climate change and food insecurity”.
The South African Air Force does a great deal of humanitarian assistance and is forever living by the principles and values of helping people in need.
Following the Unit 77th birthday celebration, Colonel Tswidi stated, “The SA Air Force Headquarters Unit supports many national initiatives, outreach programmers and charity organisations.”
On the 18 of July 2023, in commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day, Colonel Tswidi and other Officers and civilians dedicated the day to painting at the South African Headquarters, Pretoria. More projects are said to be coming up until the end of July.
Shoky Sekoaila, the cleaner at SA Air Force Headquarters Unit Supply Support, was among the civilians who devoted their 67 minutes and used their hands to make a difference. “I am because you are”, and that is what Mandela Day is all about, the spirit of Ubuntu working together and helping each other,” she said.
When Colonel Tswidi was asked what the SA Air Force would do to improve South Africa, she said, “The organisation will continue to identify unprivileged communities and orphanages and donate non-perishable foods and clothes to the less fortunate. Last year we had the privilege to attend crèche graduation in Salvokop. In one of the crèches, we provided some food. The organisation also supplies water to areas in Hammanskraal that were affected by the Cholera outbreak”.
“To keep the legacy of Nelson Mandela alive, in the future, I wish to start my project for people with disabilities, where I will provide wheelchairs, and food parcels, raise awareness and educate people about the different types of disabilities. Caring for people with disabilities is my passion. I believe it is because my father is living with a disability, so when I help them, I feel like I am helping him,” said Shoky Sekoaila.
“Those who know better say charity begins at home to instil a sense of solidarity in achieving a common goal. I saw it appropriate that we start within the Air Command premises by painting the Flag hosting Parade walls,” opined Colonel Tswidi.
She further explained that the aim of painting the wall was to preserve it. The SA Air Force Unit pledges to keep the spirit of Nelson Mandela alive and guarantees that the SA Air Force will forever serve and protect the people.”
“Next year, I wish to see more Senior Officers becoming more involved on this day, helping those in need within or outside the organisation; I strongly believe that it would inspire the Non-Commissioned Officers to take the initiative in doing more charity work” – Colonel Tswidi.