VUT TEAM TAKES ACTION AND INSPIRES CHANGE ON MANDELA DAY
By Tebello Theledi 22 July 2022
On Monday, 18 July 2022, a team from the Student Support Services (SSS) department at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) participated in a project that entailed renovations and revamping of the home of Mme Selloane Phetane in Sharpeville.
The SSS team participated in the outreach programme to commemorate this year’s Nelson Mandela Month and drew inspiration from Madiba himself with his words; “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”
Globally, 18 July has been declared an International Mandela Day when individuals and communities lend a hand to the needy through acts of charity and community development. This is a response to a call made by the former statesman that everyone honours him by helping their communities. The resolution to declare 18 July as International Nelson Mandela Day was taken by the United Nations General Assembly in November 2009. Since then, millions around the world spend a minimum of 67 minutes every 18 July as an affirmation of “take action.”
It was no exception with staff and students of VUT as this day saw them doing work at the home of the struggle icon.
Mme Selloane Phetane
Mme Phetane is a heroine in the fight against apartheid. She gave shelter to political activists during the apartheid years. She is the founder of the ANC Women’s League in Sharpeville and later served as Chairperson of the Community Policing Forum (CPF). She joined politics at 16, following her first-hand experience during Sharpeville Day in March 1960.
Ever since the dawn of South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy, Mme Phethane has dedicated herself to serving the Sharpeville community through a Victim Support Centre in her home. She is a mother of four children and the current regional Chairperson of the Khulumani Support group.
Local Councillor, Ms Menge Mohale welcomed the VUT team and thanked them for their efforts in inspiring meaningful change and making a difference in the life of Mme Phetane.
The VUT team participated in activities such as painting and revamping the home and the building that serves as a haven for victims of violence. They also assisted in establishing a vegetable garden.
The Green Door Victim Empowerment Centre is currently run by the family of Mme Phetane and is situated within the premises of the family home. This demonstrates her passion for opening the doors of her home to the vulnerable, as she also did during the darkest period of our country’s history.
VUT team with Mme Phetane
When the work was done, Mme Phetane rewarded the VUT team with a narration of the widely published Sharpeville Massacre incident. She drew from her personal recollections and emotions as she described the events of that fateful day like it happened yesterday. This made the Mandela Day experience even more fulfilling for the VUT team.