Mandela Day 2023 – Part 2

Mandela day is celebrated annually in honour of Nelson Mandela on the 18th of July, the former president’s birthday. It is not a public holiday, but rather a day to honour his legacy and his values, through volunteering and community service. It’s tradition to spend at least 67minutes in service, as that was how long Madiba had fought for social justice. So we at the South African Blues Society sought and found two worthy causes to support in 2023!

YANA Visit Tuesday 18 July

YANA (You are not Alone) is a non-profit welfare organisation registered at the Department of Health and Social Development, caring for people diagnosed with Schizophrenia. They are located in Rietfontein and their two main goals are providing residential care in a group home setup, and offering a psycho-social rehabilitation program to increase general functioning. They also offer advice and support to their residents’ family and friends, and strive to raise community awareness, addressing the stigma attached to psychological illnesses. Their funding is sourced from lodging fees, government subsidy and donations and fundraising. We made contact with Amelda, a staff member, and started brainstorming ideas. We landed on a concert and a boereworsrol braai  (beef sausage hotdog barbeque). Hokaai Meat Market in Faerie Glen was kind enough to offer us everything we needed (boerewors, freshly baked rolls, margarine, sauces, charcoal and firelighters) at wholesale prices. So shopping done and loaded, we set off to YANA on a sunny Tuesday morning! We were met by Amelda and directed to park in their spacious grounds underneath a lemon tree.  Residents were scattered around the gardens, seated alone or in small groups, chatting, listening to music over headphones, or simply basking in the gentle winter sun. Amelda introduced us to a few residents who could help if we got stuck with anything. Everybody was super friendly, welcoming and warm! First order of business was unloading equipment and braai supplies, and setting up the therapy hall for the concert. Jean-Claude (vocals and guitar) and Illimar (electric guitar) of Levinia were to perform as a duo, and they made short work of setting up the sound. On the braai team, we had Irma, Vince, Justin and Wesley, and they got going with lighting three fires, cleaning grills, and setting up a serving table. The residents were extremely helpful – aiding with the braai set-up, picking fresh lemons to clean the grills with, and chatting with us to make us feel right at home. The excitement became palpable when our duo started sound checking, and before long they were ready to go! After a resident made a lovely welcome speech, music filled the air. JC and Illimar performed classic songs like Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Pride and Joy and Tin Pan Alley, Elvis Presley’s That’s Alright Mama and Hound Dog, JJ Cale’s Call Me the Breeze, and Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven. The audience of about 53 residents tapped their feet and swayed along as they were also treated to some of Levinia’s original tracks like Drifter and Boogie Woman.  Of the show Illimar says that it was a very rewarding experience to take music to people who don’t necessarily have the opportunity to go out and seek it out themselves on a regular basis, and to see their positive reaction to being introduced to the blues genre. Meanwhile, outside, we were braaing 70 pieces of boerewors at the same time – the air was filled by the mouth-watering scent and the sound of sizzling sausages and blues… What a vibe!  Afterward the show a resident thanked us on behalf of everyone and we were each gifted a lovely keychain made by the residents themselves.  Lunch time! The residents formed an orderly queue and staff members helped us to serve lunch. It was delicious and much appreciated! The home’s kitchen provided dessert. We can’t overstate what a joy and a privilege it was to spend time with YANA’s phenomenal staff and residents! We are looking into ways to team up again in the near future!

Please check out YANA’s website for ways you can get involved and help out!

Note: No residents were photographed to protect their privacy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Basket