Efforts to help reassure your intentions of doing your 67 minutes worth of good this Mandela Day are being set in place by the Cheesekids. As they set arms for the community take over in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, you are asked to give your time to the Cheeesekids #CheeseDay Mandela Day event falling on the 20 July. Not International Mandela Day, but an equality important family day.
Before meeting the Cheesekids’ Chief Executive Officer “Chief Cheese” Kamogelo Kekana at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, I was afforded some time with his assistant (Lin) who told me that the Mayor of Pretoria might be attending the event. Leaving me enthusiastic and eager, I got to sit down with a passion fueled Kamogelo. Since joining the Cheesekids in 2008 as a Senior Projects Manager, Kamogelo has been between his ambition of feeding his soul and the position of prioritizing money. In May he resigned from his corporate job to dedicate his all his time to the organization.
The “Chief Cheese” is certain Cheesekids’ are well able to activate and mobilize people and describes the organization as the “training wheels of charity” with the intention of getting people off their couches. They make good use of the ‘cool’ factor by inspiring a relatable attitude in young people with reference to giving. The name itself is a bit “tongue-in-cheek…”
“The definition of Cheesekids has evolved for us. It is our way of giving young people something to obtain to, rather than using terms to divide the haves and have nots. The Cheesekids have stood against the challenges the name infers by planting themselves in the community and putting their backs into proving that they want to achieve the same goals,” says Kamogelo.
The organization has worked hand in hand with local schools, orphanages and non-profit organizations to outline that the needs of the community in preparation for the event. Cheesekids #CheeseDay Mandela Day will be set on different sites around Atteridgeville to help meet these needs. Activities include reading sessions, face painting, playing with kids, painting and the full refurbishment of 25 classrooms at a local high school. There will also be an opportunity to plant a garden aimed at helping the local feeding scheme (where locals would grow and sell their own produce); a rare opportunity for individual contribution to food security and job creation that should not be passed off.
I learned something new when Kamogelo mentioned South Africa’s ranking on the World Giving Index (which is a ranking of how charitable countries are). We rank 108 of 153, which is to say we have a lot of work ahead of us. The “Chief Cheese” concluded with his perception of Mandela Day’s significance to the youth by saying “if not wanting to better someone else’s life, better your life; and I find that in good service you do feed the soul” He said. “We need to find a common vision, which could be to help your neighbor. Speaking to the essence of ubuntu”
Register for Chesesekids #CheeseDay Mandela Day on mandela.cheeseday.co.za
Shuttles available from the Gautrain station (Pretoria station)
Sponsored by Mnet Cares, the City of Tswane, Autopax