Mandela Day At Adelaide Tambo School

About This Project

In celebration of Mam’Adelaide Tambo’s and Tata Nelson Mandela’s birthdays, the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation came together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and held a celebration at the Adelaide Tambo School for The Physically Challenged in Jabavu, Soweto.


In her opening remarks, the programme director, Claire Mawisa, reminded the audience that Mandela Day shouldn’t only be on the 18th July, but rather we should always find a way to help those less fortunate than us. The Principal of the School, Mr Lindela Memani, gave a brief history of the School and thanked everyone who had come to celebrate Mam’Adelaide and Tat’Madiba’s birthday, especially the donors with their generous contributions. He shared Nelson Mandela’s words: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”.


Maya Makanjee, a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, reminded the audience that South Africa needs selfless love and that we all need to demonstrate the caring nature of Mam’Adelaide. Linda Vilakazi, CEO of the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation, shared with the audience that it is very fitting that this celebration is happening at the School, as education was key to Mam’Adelaide, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. She went on to thank the Tambo family for establishing The Foundation – a platform to do good and continue the legacies of Mam’Adelaide and O.R.


Representing the Tambo Family, an emotional Dali Tambo compared his mother’s life to an excellent film script – a life that went from ordinary to dramatic. Dali shared how Mam’Adelaide’s political career was sparked when she witnessed her grandfather being harassed by a young, white policeman. She joined the ANC Youth League as a courier, later meeting and marrying Oliver Tambo. Describing her as a family-oriented woman, Dali told the audience how reluctant Mam’Adelaide was to go into exile, as this would divorce her from her people, her home and her culture. Once in exile, however, she became consumed by taking care of not only her family, but also the young people in exile, thus earning herself a reputation as Mother of the ANC. While she led a hard life in exile, Mam’Adelaide did not complain, as she was cognisant of the harshness life in South Africa. She instead committed herslf to the struggle, and also immersed herself in community work, which she continued even after returning to South Africa.


Reading the speech for Mandela Day by the UN Secretary General, UN Country Director, Masimba Tafirenyika, elaborated on how the best way to show tribute and make a difference is not by words, but by action. City of Johannesburg Regional Director echoed this sentiment, sharing that all human beings exist to help. Speaking on behalf of Absa, Deputy CEO, David Hodnett, emphasised that without schools such as the Adelaide Tambo School, communities are poorer. He further said that no man is an island, and that we need partnerships to succeed; this day was a beautiful display of combined efforts.


For their generous gifts, the donors were thanked Natasha Allie and Luzuko Koti from the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, respectively. This was followed by the cutting of the cake by the Tambo grandchildren and singing by the audience and volunteers.


The day continued with birthday celebrations, as we were constantly reminded that the 18th of July is indeed still the birthday of two giants – with cake-eating generously donated by Absa and NMF – and volunteers assisting in cleaning up the School, painting, and planting of fruit trees. All in all, it was a wonderful day and a fitting tribute to Mam’Adelaide and Tata Madiba.


This event could not have been possible without our hard-working partners: the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the City of Johannesburg, and Fun and Class Relations.


Both Foundations would like to extend the deepest gratitude to all the donors who made the School’s day, and year, with their amazing gifts and promises of future partnerships:

Absa 2 10-seater combis, 2 computer centres, 2 blanket washing machines, and cake and coffee for all the guess
Africa’s Got Game Free online, educational courses for one year
Builder’s Box Paint
Capitec 2 computers
City Parks Landscaping, painting, restoring of playground material, and tree-felling
CRM, Region D Cleaning materials
Dr Z Chand Dental care packs for all the boarding house children
Environmental Health Fumigation of the School
Fun and Class + MetroWired Videography, photography, catering for the children, media room and MC
Maphalle Maponya R1000 for boarding house cleaning materials
NNA Quantity Surveyors Catering for the children
New Media Inc. Washing machine
Phutanang Youth Trust R250 000 (in partnership with Quartile Capital), chess boards, chairs and toilers for the day
Pikitup Picking up of litter, collecting recyclables, and the removal of illegal dumping
Proudly South Africa Linen and curtains for the dormitories
Rand Mutual Library for the primary school
Rotary Club of Jhb Musical instruments
Tetrapack Entertainment Centre for the boarding house (valued at R800 000)
United Nations 13 wheelchairs, blankets and sanitary towels




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18 July 2017


Adelaide Tambo School for the Physically Challenged

2017, Mandela Day, Projects