S Africans urged to donate blood

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pretoria - The Nelson Mandela Foundation has urged South Africans to take a few minutes of their time to donate blood this month in honour of Nelson Mandela's 67 years of service to humanity.

Today marks World Blood Donor Day and June is National Blood Donor Month in South Africa.

With the countdown underway for Mandela Day on 18 July, the Foundation is calling upon South Africans to do their part by rolling up their sleeves and giving blood.

This year's global campaign for World Blood Donor Day is aimed at recruiting and retaining young donors who will improve the long-term safety and sufficiency of the country's blood supply.

Nelson Mandela has spoken publicly about the importance of a safe blood supply to combat HIV-AIDS. He has also passionately advocated the involvement of youth in social causes and human rights work.

In a 2003 address given at a youth forum on HIV and AIDS, he said: "It is in your hands now to learn from the past, from the noble endeavours as well as the failures and mistakes and to strive to improve on those efforts of previous generations."

South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is hosting a blood donor clinic and educational event at Maponya Mall in Soweto today from 10am to 3pm.

Potential donors can learn more about donating blood, have their blood group identified, and donate blood or blood products.

Mandela Day, an international day of humanitarian action, falls on 18 July, Mandela's birthday. People are urged to make every day a Mandela Day by donating at least 67 minutes of their time to serve their communities.

Sixty-seven minutes is a symbolic number, representing the number of years Mandela was actively involved in social activism.