SAMRO’s proud team of “Knitwits for Mandela” today handed over the fruits of their efforts to the 67 Blankets drive at SAMRO’s offices in Braamfontein. The event was attended by SAMRO’s Chief Financial Officer, Greg Zoghby and Carolyn Steyn, founder of the charity project that has become a global phenomenon. 

Every year organisations in South Africa and around the world aim to knit or crochet a target number of 67 blankets. Inspired by staff member Koulla Norman, who organised the project, SAMRO employees rose to the occasion to knit their share of blankets. Norman said although they expected in the region of about 10 to 15 people to step forward, they had an overwhelming response. 

“More than 40 people volunteered to assist” she said.

Speaking at the handover event, Zoghby congratulated all SAMRO staff who used their own free time to participate in the project. “I know that many of you used your lunch hours and, some of you knitted on the bus on your way to work and home.”

Zoghby said he was especially impressed that although the target date for the blankets was shifted up from June to April, SAMRO was able to finish an impressive 54 blankets. 

“Your efforts will be appreciated by the individuals who would otherwise have been cold this winter” he said.

Carolyn Steyn offered a bit of background on the project. “I ask myself how a project that I started 15 years ago exploded into this,” she said. 

The project has grown and now every year more than 15 countries around the world participate in the 67 Blankets for Mandela drive. The blankets presented by SAMRO staff will form part of a bigger event to take place at the Union Buildings where 21 000 blankets will be put on display to mark 21 years of democracy,” she said.  

Knitwit Thapelo Mofokeng, who made three blankets, said that this was the first time he had ever crocheted or knitted. “I had plenty of help from my wife and children, and it turned into a family affair.”

Mofokeng said he was inspired to knit by his mother who used to crochet hats for the church choir. “It feels great knowing that someone will be kept warm by my blankets,” he said.