Spreading warmth with scarves

The Young Ones and Spin-a-Yarn knitting group teamed up with 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day to knit and distribute 200 scarves.

Knitters from Athlone, Crawford and Lansdowne teamed up with 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day to knit 200 scarves, as part of the organisation’s annual Secret Scarf Shhh (also known as SSS) initiative.

The handmade scarves, made by members of The Young Ones and Spin-a-Yarn knitting group, were distributed on Wednesday July 6 at Kromboom Park in Crawford. This was one of 13 sites across South Africa where the distribution took place on the same day.

The Young Ones is a seniors social group and its members are from Athlone and Crawford. This was the first time they were part of this initiative. The Spin-a-Yarn knitting group meets the last Wednesday of the month at Lansdowne library. They joined the secret scarf mission in 2019.

Sandi King, a 67 Blankets ambassador, said it was a pleasure to work with the two groups.

Every scarf had a special message.

“The Young Ones are new members. They wanted to get involved and they were very enthusiastic. It was a pleasure to work with both of the groups,” Ms King said.

According to 67 Blankets for Mandela Day, this initiative is now in its seventh year, and its aim is to spread warmth in a “colourful and joyous way”.

At Kromboom Park, the scarves were hung on trees and anyone in the community was welcome to select a scarf. Oranges were also handed out.

Following on from the successful Rainbow Nation Blanket of Hope which happened in May – when more than 4 500 blankets were given to Gift of the Givers to distribute in KZN – the secret scarf mission continued with the theme of thanking the healthcare workers for their work and sacrifices they made over the past 28 months.

Carolyn Steyn, the founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, said: “We are so excited that we can all come out after a long lockdown into a changed world and pay tribute to the healthcare workers and continue with the theme of hope for the rainbow nation. I cannot thank our knitwits enough for their commitment that continues to bring warmth to people across our nation every year. This year we have seen a greater involvement from learners at schools across the country, both at junior and high school levels, which brings a youthful enthusiasm to the blanket family.”

The thousands of scarves distributed across the country each have a 67 Blankets label with a special message attached which reads: “I am not lost. If you are cold and need me, please take me. With love, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day.”

Angela Africa with her grandchildren, Alex, 6, and Alyssa Africa, 9, joined in the distribution of the scarves at Kromboom Park.