The 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day team yesterday recognised inmates at the Zonderwater Correctional Centre for their support in knitting thousands of blankets for the needy over the years.
The inmates have been crocheting blankets for the needy since 2014 while working with 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (67 Blankets).
They contributed to the winning of two Guinness World Records for the largest crocheted blankets, in 2015 and 2016 respectively. They will be putting together the Massive Mandela Masterpiece (#MMM) on April 24.
The #MMM is a portrait of Mandela comprising about 3 066 blankets making it a total size of 7 848.96m². It will be assembled and displayed at Zonderwater on April 24 as part of the Mandela centennial celebrations.
Blankets will be coming from other participating prisons across the globe.
Carolyn Steyn, founder of the non-profit organisation, said they handed over awards to participating inmates as a token of appreciation for their hard work.
“Within five months of launching the #MMM project, they had made 1 600 blankets, more than any one correctional centre within the same period,” she said.
Steyn said Zonderwater was the first correctional centre to work with 67 Blankets and it led to more prisons taking part in the project. Many inmates, like Clark Mokhachane, said the project had changed their lives.
“It has prevented me from joining criminal groups and kept me out of mischief,” Andile Tyato, another inmate, said.
Pauline Kekana, who coordinates the project at the prison, attributes their success to implementing the department of correctional services’ framework focusing on rehabilitation through changing attitudes, education and development.
Muzi Kunene, who is currently doing a Masters of Commerce degree in project management, and putting it into practice by project-managing the entire assembly of the #MMM, said:
“We will not disappoint them. It is an honour to be responsible for putting together this masterpiece to celebrate 100 years since the birth of the most important prisoner of them all.”