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South Africa knits thousands of blankets for Madiba


The 3 133 square metres of blankets claims to be the largest area covered by a blanket. The previous record was 1 020 square metres.

The blankets – crocheted and knitted by South Africans and other supporters around the world – were collected by 67 Blankets, an initiative set up by Carolyn Steyn to support the 67 minutes for Mandela Day campaign, held in July.

Volunteers worked late into the night on Monday to ensure the blankets were laid out and presented correctly for the judging of this record-breaking event.

Steyn told News24 that 67 Blankets started after Zelda La Grange, Nelson Mandela's long-time assistant, challenged her to make 67 blankets for Mandela Day in 2014.

"I don't have 67 friends to help and I can't do it on my own, so I turned to Facebook and created a group at 03:00 one morning in desperation. The next day I woke up to hundreds of members and now we are thousands and thousands."


The goal was to collect 21 000 blankets by April 21. "The fact is we can't really say how many blankets we have, as more and more keep pouring in," Steyn said.

'Binding our nation together'

South Africans from all walks of life got involved in the project: school children, people in old age homes, rugby players and prisoners.

"The deeper message is that we are binding our nation together with colourful threads and I think it's so powerful, especially at this time," she said, referring to the recent attacks on foreign nationals.

"I think we are putting out a very powerful statement that we are anti-xenophobia in every form, that we are knitting together our society, that we are knitting together our nation, and that we are all Africans."

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