“I never thought I would learn how to crochet at my age”, it echoed around the passages of the six Guvon Hotels and four Spas, as well as Guvon head office the past two months. And with every twist of the wrist, a new crochet block was in the making until Guvon Hotels had 67 blankets to contribute to the “67 Blankets for Mandela Day” project.
“We are so proud that 120 of our employees took up the challenge and produced these beautiful colourful blankets which we are handing over to Arlene Snoek from 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day today,” says Alta Thorpe, HR Director at Guvon Hotels & Spas. “We love the fact that we are contributing to keeping people from all walks of life warm this and hopefully many winters to come. So much love has gone into this project.”
Reta Coetzee who heads up Central Reservations at Guvon Hotels points out how the whole process also cemented relations between employees. “Where everyone used to do their own thing, we now spent lunch times crocheting, knitting and just taking time to catch up on each other’s lives. It’s been a precious time to get to know our fellow workers. Next year we want to start earlier and see if we can double our number of blankets.”
This proud blanket crocheting and knitting tradition stems from a challenge Zelda la Grange, Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, posed to Carolyn Steyn in December 2013: La Grange presented Carolyn Steyn with a challenge: knit 67 blankets! These blankets would then be distributed to those in need on Nelson Mandela Day. Steyn gladly accepted Zelda’s challenge but soon realised that she wouldn’t be able to achieve it alone. She called on her friends for help and created the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day Facebook group. The initiative has gained local and international momentum, and is going from strength to strength.
Proud participants in the project are from the following hotels:
Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, Glenburn Lodge and Chicama Spa in Muldersdrift, in the Cradle of Humankind. Askari Game Lodge & Spa, a Big 5 game reserve, is in Magaliesberg and The Fairway Hotel & Golf Resort is in Randpark.