7 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day to crochet up a Guinness record

This is to get most people crocheting in one place simultaneously.

This auspicious day marks not only the birthday of Mozart (born in 1756), but also the fifth birthday of the 67 Blankets initiative, which has won several awards and smashed world records in its desire to continue Madiba’s legacy by keeping thousands of people around the world warm.

“Beautiful music for a beautiful cause, conducted by Maestro Richard Cock – what more could we ask for as a fifth birthday present?” says Carolyn Steyn, founder of the 67 Blankets initiative.

“In the year following the centenary of Madiba’s birth, we are honoured to be continuing with our knitting revolution in his name. 67 Blankets has exceeded our wildest expectations, galvanising communities and bringing joy, hope and comfort to thousands of people around the world. We can’t wait to toast our fifth birthday with yet another world record attempt to the beautiful strains of Mozart!”

Adds Yase Godlo, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Mandela Day and outreach manager: “We are thrilled to again be partnering with the 67 Blankets initiative, which continues to touch so many lives through the sterling work it does to propagate Madiba’s legacy and live his values of compassion and empathy. As they enter their fifth year and fifth world record attempt, we wish the ‘KnitWits’ well as they again set out to make a concrete difference, stitch by stitch.”

To mark this special occasion, 67 Blankets is inviting you to bring your crochet hook and crocheting (and your love of classical music) to the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg on the day, as together South Africa’s KnitWits set out to crochet away for at least 27 minutes in a bid to clinch yet another world record to add to their arsenal.

When the cymbals clang, everyone has to begin crocheting within the allotted time which is 27 minutes – a minute for every year that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

While the KnitWits are crocheting up a storm, maestro Richard Cock will be conducting musicians in performing a selection of exquisite Mozart works to ensure the record attempt is music to all participants’ ears.

This includes Elize Kruger playing one movement of a Mozart piano sonata, a string quartet performing Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and a marimba band adding to the Mozart- and Madiba-inspired merriment.

Richard Cock adds, “The Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is extremely excited about teaming up with 67 Blankets for this World Record attempt. JIMF loves getting involved in different things, and when we discovered the synergy between JIMF’s birthday, Mozart’s birthday AND 67 Blankets’ birthday, we just couldn’t resist. We are so looking forward to all the cro(t)cheting on the 27th, and to bringing Mozart’s music to a whole new audience!”

Participation is free, but 67 Blankets requests participants to bring along cans of non-perishable food to benefit students in need at Wits University. The university is donating the use of the Linder Auditorium on the day, and this donation to the Wits Food Programme is the 67 Blankets founders’ and ambassadors’ and Johannesburg Mozart Festival’s way of expressing their gratitude while helping to ensure that young people are able to study with dignity.

The Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO) office operates the Wits Food Programme, which is an institutional response to food insecurity among students at Wits.

The Wits Food Programme is made up of several projects including the: Wits Food Bank, which offers quick relief by distributing food parcels to students. Food parcels comprise non-perishable food items such as peanut butter, tin foods, rice, pasta, noodles, mielie meal etc.

The items are acquired through donations from staff, students, public and corporate donations.

It is important to note that participants need to be seated by 1:30pm, registration starts at 12 noon at The Linder Auditorium and the record attempt begins promptly at 2:15pm.

Because the Linder Auditorium’s seating is limited to 1060 people, anyone interested in joining the Mozart for Mandela record attempt must confirm their attendance by emailing by Monday 21 January, with the subject line “Mozart for Mandela”.

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