National 28.7.2016 03:52 pm

Avoid Nelson Mandela Bridge as CEOs sleep out

The Nelson Mandela Bridge will be closed off until 29 July. Photo: North Eastern Tribune

The Nelson Mandela Bridge will be closed off until 29 July. Photo: North Eastern Tribune

Business leaders from around the country will spend the night out on the streets to raise funds for three education-focused organisations.

Commuters who travel through Braamfontein on their way home should take note that the Nelson Mandela Bridge is closed to traffic, and will be until 9pm tomorrow evening, for the second instalment of the Sun International CEO SleepOut.

This was confirmed to the North Eastern Tribune by Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, who said: “The area will be monitored 24/7 by Metro police.”

Motorists are advised to make use of Queen Elizabeth Bridge and Carr Bridge as alternative routes.

The CEO SleepOut will see business leaders from around the country spend the night out on the streets to raise funds for three education-focused organisations – the ASHA Trust, Columba Leadership and the Steve Biko Foundation. The emphasis on education in this year’s event follows from last year’s theme of homelessness.

Speaking at the media launch for the second instalment of the event, the CEO of Sun International, Graeme Stephens, described how during a discussion on some of the successes from the night and places for improvement, it was decided to focus on education “because it’s such a hot button in the country at the moment”. He further described education as a long-term solution to eradicating poverty.

Graeme Stephens, CEO of Sun International, who are the title sponsors, speaks about the impact the inaugural CEO SleepOut had on the country. Photo: North Eastern Tribune

Graeme Stephens, CEO of Sun International, who are the title sponsors, speaks about the impact the inaugural CEO SleepOut had on the country. Photo: North Eastern Tribune

Also speaking at the launch earlier this year, Bongani Bingwa, a presenter on Carte Blanche, stressed the importance of focusing on education. “The need for education has never been higher, and the focus is not only on generating funds but on a national call to action for the rest of the country to get involved,” he said.

In the theme of education, schools were also invited to participate in the challenge.

Participants are further encouraged to donate two books to the Play your Part Library of Hope, an activation of Brand SA. The library structure will be placed on the Nelson Mandela Bridge.

Brand SA chief executive officer Kingsley Makhubela explained that the books collected from the night would then be distributed to disadvantaged schools. “We are hoping to collect over 1 000 books during the evening of 28 July,” Makhubela said.

In return for bringing books, each participating CEO will get a piece of puzzle on which they will write a pledge, showing their commitment to playing their part. All the puzzles will then be connected to create the South African flag.

Participants can also take part in the Virtual Wallet activation, which would allow participants to take part in the activities set up in the various kiosks on the Nelson Mandela Bridge and earn virtual money. “This ‘money’ will then enable participants to purchase items for the evening – soup, coffee, sleeping bags and blankets. All participants partaking in the activities on the bridge will earn virtual money to ‘survive the night on the street’,” Makhubela explained.

The morning after the SleepOut, approximately 1 000 homeless people will then be invited to collect what was ‘purchased’ the night before by the participants.

Caxton News Service

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