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Rolling with Rolihlahla


Meridian If we were a shopping centre I think we would have our first anchor tenant!

Meridian Nolithemba Berndt – traditional healer, herbalist and ritual facilitator – will be ours … even if only for 67 minutes (from 1.30pm) at 9Needs studio in Woodstock on Madiba Day, Thursday July 18.

Meridian will be giving an introduction to the Xhosa language. The 67-minute crash course will touch on such as concepts as ubuntu, our shared humanity and African notions of community in a 21st century context … all this in the context of the language and its inherent poetry.

The native tongue of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.6 million South Africans, about 18% of the population.

Those left hungry to know more of Madiba’s language after the 67 minutes will be able to discuss joining one of Meridian’s classes and groups in the Cape Town area.

People enjoying the fruits of other people’s 67 minutes of service (including Meridian’s introduction to Xhosa, Natalie Netwoman’s crash course in blogging, Pow’s pancakes or Dr Feelgood’s painting class) can do their own 67 minutes of service by knitting squares to be patched into blankets. Some needles and wool will be provided, please feel free to add whatever you have at home.

All thoughts and ideas about other things to make and do on the day gratefully accepted (post comments on this page for wider consumption or email [email protected])

Show up for our Pop Up:
67 Minutes at 9Needs

knittedNo longer happy to just muddle along, donating a blanket, knitting a square, giving a penny to a beggar at a traffic light, a group of us have commandeered a very cool studio space in Woodstock for a few hours on Madiba Day and are determined to share some of what we have.

We are an energetic and variously skilled group of people. I make a killer cup of tea, for example. Another one of us, aka Natalie NetWoman, will be doing a demo on how to build a website, and a TB/HIV counselor will be on hand to give counselling and advice or maybe talk about counseling as a career. This is just a taste of what will be on offer … Now we are trying to find people who are keen to learn a new skill, connect with a mentor, knit a square or just have a chat and a cup of tea in a funky studio space in Woodstock between midday and 3pm on Thursday.

Do you know someone who could do with a quick course on blogging, a chat with a TB/ HIV counselor, or a place to knit a square and have a nice cup of tea? Please contact [email protected] with any ideas and input on how we can make Madiba Day a success..

♠♣♥♦       ♠♣♥♦        ♠♣♥♦

We are all on deadline, us South Africans. The week before July 18 is the week when we plot, plan, scheme and dream to cook up the coolest or hottest ways to observe the 67-minute community service challenge that is becoming tradition on Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

Knitting squares for blankets and covering books are both excellent Plans Bs and Cs (not necessarily in that order) for those who don’t manage to dream up something more sensational to celebrate the great man’s 67 years of community service.

But there is still time … and now there is space!

9Needs Studio in Woodstock9Needs Studio in Woodstock is making space available for people to spend 67 minutes improving the lives of their fellow human beings. Butlers, florists, magicians, doctors, photographers, recorder players … roll up your sleeves and think of ways to expose other people to products or services that they wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.

.Be part of giving and receiving … talks, demos, collaborations, bake-offs, card tricks, projects, neck rubs, you name it … all in the name of the Great Madiba!

Please use the comment area at the end of this article to add your ideas about what we can do for 67 minutes that will enrich the lives of others in our community.

Space will be limited, but no doubt there will be a steady flow of drop-ins from A-Listers, B-Listers and C-Listers on the day so book your space at 9Needs to:

  • give a crash course in ordering a meal in Xhosa or Spanish
  • teach a card trick
  • knit squares
  • or cover books

in excellent company for 67 minutes.

Call Off The Search is co-ordinating the allocation of space so please get in touch and let’s make this a sensational day for giving and receiving.

Notes from last year…
Madiba Day: We’ve got it covered!


How blessed we are to have
the Great Mandela,
our beloved Tata Madiba,
who has done so much more
for us than lead us back
from the gates of hell
all those years ago

Volunteers cover books

Us South Africans got off our soapboxes, high horses and fences on Madiba Day, July 18, and made an effort of some sort. Most people I know gave at least 67 minutes of their time in some sort of community service (marking the 67 years of active community service that Mandela gave).


I went down to the Bookery in Roeland Street in Cape Town and joined a motley crew of volunteers covering books – old and new – that were destined for school libraries in the townships. It was a very sociable little scene with a wide range of conversations, from life in Dublin (lovely but wet) through tooth decay to the Palestinian conflict.

Leading ladies
It’s a warp … a wrap, I mean, a wrap

The actual book covering brought out the competitive spirit in some of my co-coverers. I was charmed and amused by the diligence of A from Claremont and H from Camps Bay.

“Aah, no bubbles!” (The book coverer’s nirvana.)

“Look! You can hardly see it has been covered!”

The Bookery is part of Equal Education and is on a mission to have a library and a librarian in every school. Their effort is year-round and they are always looking for books as well as donations to help their cause.

Others who feared they would not be able to hack it in the craftily competitive world of covering books with sticky plastic opted to join a knit-a-thon. They headed to churches and similar oases of calm to spend their 67 minutes knitting squares for blankets. Call Off The Search would love to hear from one of them …


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19th July 2012 3:28 pm

My dear, a knit-a-thon is nothing to be sneezed at. Which wool, colours, size needles, remembering how to cast on… These frantic decisions within the pressurized time period of 67 minutes, is highly stressful. The illusion of a calm oasis is a practiced art necessary to entice others into our knitting circle.

A broken foot ruled out other exciting activities lined up for this special day, so off I hopped to the Backpacker in Tamboerskloof. Their guest lounge is warm and filled with the wonderful energy of exotic travel. Excited travelers of all ages gather by the fire to share their tales. I have knitted at their fireplace before and found it to be such a rewarding and comforting experience I found myself longing to go back. The calming rhythm of fireside knitting passed down for (surely hundreds of) generations of woman, seemed to have come to an abrupt halt at the end of the last century. Fortunately the Go Green revolution has sparked a resurgence in this timeless art. Gorgeous little wool shops have popped up in the trendiest of suburbs, selling their soft ware. The global phenomenon of Yarn Bombing has also done it part too. The resurrection of this very practical meditation is practical too. After all, how does mankind benefit from an hour of yoga? Ok, don’t answer that.

The Backpacker is an extraordinary institution, in addition to being highly successful, they are completely focused on giving back. One of their multitude of ongoing projects is having baskets at the fireplace with a variety of woolen squares in varied states of completion. Guests at the lodge are invited to knit a few rows and assist in the making of what will one day be a blanket. They have made quite a few blankets and it’s quite remarkable that travelers from all over the world can help in this way. People do love to give and I think at the end of a long day of sightseeing and other touristy things, knitting a few rows to help the needy makes them feel even better about themselves.

So I sat in deep thought, and the comfort of their generous fireside couch, picturing the people my little square would someday warm. I knitted listening to loud African music and surrounded by African drums, African art and various other African artifacts, with a warm glow thinking how wonderful it was to have Africans helping Africans on this very special day.

deon marais
deon marais
10th July 2013 9:41 pm

this knitalong on African drums is probably the most uniqueway of giving back. I can see myself having a glass of red next to a fire with some needles and wool. what a fantastic way to spend madiba day. brilliant. I think that crochetalong could be good compromise for those that struggle with two needles. keep up the good work.

11th July 2013 2:22 pm

It is very good idea to knit 67min with red wine and may be chocolate as well. I have to sew over 1000 knitted squares to make blankets which my daughter’s school girls knitted. I need 67days, not 67min!!

Odidi Mfenyana
Odidi Mfenyana
17th July 2013 4:09 pm

Where is the Studio what is the address!?

17th July 2013 9:27 pm
Reply to  Odidi Mfenyana

9Needs Studio, 2nd Floor, Castle Mews, 16a Strand Street, Woodstock

Pieter Hugo
18th July 2013 11:27 am

Sounds fantastic. Have a great day Capo!

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