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#GradnGive on Mandela Month entrenches ubuntu

- Wits University

Students graduating in July are urged to spread joy by bringing non-perishables to restock the Wits Food Bank.

Graduation students July

The Wits July 2022 graduation season falls on the week of Nelson Mandela International Day, celebrated globally on 18 July to encourage the world to embrace and live the values of the global icon Nelson Mandela. The first president of a democratic South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and a Witsie, Mandela is recognised for his humanity and reconciliation to promote care, especially for vulnerable members of society.

As the Wits 2022 graduates celebrate their graduation, the University invites graduands to participate in the #GradnGive initiative, in the spirit of Mandela Day. #GradnGive challenges graduates to donate to the Wits Food Bank on their graduation day. The Food Bank, launched more than a decade ago, addresses student food insecurity and hunger on campus.

“We are calling on our graduates to show up and help another Witsie to get to where they have by giving students peace of mind through food security. The Wits Food Bank is a lifeline to thousands of students on campus who do not have enough financial resources, and often sacrifice essentials, in order to make it through university,” says Karuna Singh, Senior Programme Advisor: Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO), which manages the Wits Food Bank and similar initiatives.

The Wits Food Bank provides food parcels to more than 5 000 students per year, while the Masidleni Daily Meal Project on campus provides 1 000 hot meals per day and up to 20 000 meals per month.

Graduates are encouraged to bring tins of non-perishable food and toiletries on their special day. These donations can be dropped off outside the Great Hall where graduations will be hosted for the first time since 2020.

“The theme for Mandela Day 2022 is ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are’ and reminds us that we can all make a difference,” says Singh.

The drive to restock the Food Bank will culminate in an event on Friday, 22 July, when Wits staff and students who are on campus during the winter break can bring their own tins of food and toiletry donations that will be used to build a ‘Wits 100’ Mandela Day image on a canvas on the Library Lawns and then photographed with a drone. The Wits 100 image is a visual representation to commemorate the University’s centenary and contribution to society.

The call to support the Wits Food Bank is not only limited to the July Graduating class and is open to everyone.

Monetary donations can also be made safely online through a gateway managed by the Development and Fundraising Office.

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