JOHANNESBURG – A clean-up campaign, a donation of R100,000 to the City of Johannesburg and hundreds of blankets to the less-privileged is how the Ethiopian community in Gauteng celebrated this year’s edition of Mandela Day.
The day culminated in an inter-Africa public gathering at the intersection of Jeppe and Delvers streets in the Johannesburg central business district, addressed by the Ethiopian Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Shiferaw Teklemariam.
Working under the auspices of the United Ethiopian Community Association in South Africa (UECASA), the Ethiopians carried out a clean-up campaign in the vast area of the Johannesburg inner-city, including the busy Bree Taxi rank.
They also presented a cheque of R100,000 to Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, to boost his efforts of trying to fix the busy and populous city.
“We believe that Mandela Day should not be a one-day event because Mandela dedicated his whole life to fighting for justice for everyone,” said UECASA spokesperson, Cherinet Liramo during an interview with Africanvoice Global in Johannesburg Thursday.
“As a community living in South Africa, we decided to take responsibility to keep his legacy because Mandela did a lot for the whole of Africa. Besides cleaning the city and making donations, we also fixed some old people’s homes, including De Westhoff Retirement Village in Region F (Kensington), where we constructed toilets, fixed showers, ceilings, repaired roofs, fixed kitchen units, repaired roofs and did some plumbing and complete unit innovations. There are many old age homes that are dilapidated and in need of refurbishment and in the spirit of Madiba, we have decided to lend a hand.”
Among the blankets donated, 230 were handed over to the needy in Rosettenville, who were also given food parcels.
Mr Liramo was upbeat about UECASA’s newfound partnership with the City of Johannesburg, which will see the two work hand-in-hand on investments, business initiatives, job creation, uplifting the community and public works.
“This is part of motivating our people to be responsible and acknowledge that South Africa has been there to wipe their tears and that in return, we should always be there to give back to the South African community in terms of proper integration in business and working together as one African community,” added Liramo.
Zekarias Talo, the Diplomat in Charge of Citizens’ affairs at the Ethiopian Embassy in Pretoria, said the gesture was a culmination of years of good bilateral relations between Ethiopia and South Africa, dating back to latter’s struggle against Apartheid.
“Ethiopia and South Africa have always enjoyed good relations. During the fight against Apartheid, Ethiopia provided direct technical and military training and financial support to South African freedom fighters,” said Mr Talo.
“This event is therefore, is as much a gesture towards our fraternal and long-lasting relations, which are based on mutual benefit as it is a celebration of Madiba’s legacy. This is neither the first nor last for us to make donations towards the less-privileged in our host country. We are disseminating a message of unity, love, peace and togetherness to our brothers and sisters in South Africa. Africans are one and therefore, should live together, work together and fight together because we are one people and our generation is one.”