If we each do one small thing, we can achieve big things together. That is the idea behind the Mandela Centenary bracelets, which are being sold to raise funds for libraries for poor communities around the country

Nelson Mandela’s granddaughters, Princess Zaziwe Manaway and Princess Swati Dlamini-Mandela, announced the partnership with Robert Coutts, who is the founder of the Mandela Education Programme, and chief executive of Relate Bracelets, Neil Robinson.

“If we all join hands as ordinary citizens, corporations, retailers, and do this thing we can raise more than R100 million,” Robinson said.

Over the past eight years, Relate Trust has raised more than R50 million through its crowdfunding model of selling bracelets globally. These are made by youth and elderly people for more than 110 causes.

The majority of the funds raised would go back to charity, including the Nelson Mandela Literacy Project whose libraries each work with thousands of children.

“A third of the money made goes to the causes, a third to paying the youths and elderly, and the last to running costs,” Robinson said.

“If every taxpaying South African bought one Mandela Centenary Relate bracelet, we would achieve our vision of raising R100 million in honour of what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th year.”

Robinson said he believed South Africans were generous and would join the campaign. However, the partnership needed to demonstrate that it was transparent about how the funds would be regulated and had an open-door policy when it came to checking out the books.

“I believe we can mobilise the entire world.”

The bracelet cost R49 and had already been placed at various airports throughout the country. They were being marketed globally, including in countries such as the United Kingdom and Denmark.

Speaking at the launch on Thursday, Manaway said she was proud to be a part of the project.

“Tata spent his whole life fighting for a just and equal society. At his trial he said: ‘I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities’.”

Some of the celebrities involved in the project include former South African footballer Matthew Booth, and former Miss South Africa, actress and Aids ambassador Hlubi Mboya.

Robinson added that next week more influencers would be announced as ambassadors of the campaign.

Manaway said the library initiative was one of the greatest passions of Nelson Mandela.

“There’s no better way of honouring my grandfather’s legacy than to support this cause. He wanted every child to have access to reading, because once you can read you can be educated and change the course of your life. We implore all South Africans, especially business, [to come on board] because it can’t just be a government problem. Business has to support us”.

The Mandela Centenary Relate bracelets can be bought in stacks of 10 at R495 a pack.

This article was first published by City Press on 30 March 2018