No Madiba birthday party
WHILE most people in South Africa celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day and the former president's 94th birthday, staffers at his former residence-turned-museum in Soweto were only treated to skipping rope lessons.
There were no banners or posters inside or outside the house symbolising the statesman's birthday, just a man skipping outside.
Staff members said they had not celebrated the statesman's birthday since 2009.
"The last time we celebrated Tata's birthday all eight of us decided among ourselves to contribute R50 towards a cake and some refreshments, which we shared with tourists on the day," one of the employees said.
Manager Wayde Davy said a fitness trainer, David Khumalo, was asked to stand outside the museum and teach tourists how to skip with a rope. "He skipped for 67 minutes as a way of spreading Mandela's message of keeping fit."
Davy said this is her first year as the museum's manager and that it is difficult for them to organise "any large activities on the day", adding that: "We are a nonprofit organisation and we are still learning to get on our feet. There is no budget for notable activities yet."
Davy, who also manages the Apartheid Museum, said the venue itself was a draw-card for tourists. "Many tourists visit the museum on a daily basis without there being any special activities or events."
But staff members feel more could be done.
"We are not asking for much. We don't want anything for ourselves. We would just like for those who come to the museum on Mandela's birthday to leave with something tangible. A souvenir ... something to show they visited the museum on a special day." - firstname.lastname@example.org