The Walk for Freedom Day™   UK, 27 April 2014

The 2014 Walk for Freedom Day™ (WFFD) is open for registrations from 27 January 2014.

Inspired by the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison for his actions to bring about democracy in South Africa, the WFFD was launched in 2013 in London and Gloucestershire on South Africa’s Freedom Day, Saturday April 27.  This year, the 2014 Walk marks 20 years since the first non-racial, democratic elections.  Groups will walk in London (Wimbledon) and Gloucester and raise money and awareness for the ongoing work to build a peaceful future for the children of that region.

Five charities and organisations based in the UK and South Africa have come together to collaborate rather than compete, to provide opportunities to children, women and young people in South and Southern Africa who remain marginalised and for whom freedom means the chance to live their full potential.       To get involved go to  http://walkforfreedomday.com and to make your donation go to     http://www.justgiving.com/theashafdn

The ASHA Centre (UK charity number 1058320) is the UK host charity for the initiative.

 In South Africa the host partner is The Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre (a SA registered non-profit organisation) which exists to help young people to develop their full potential through skills training and mentorship.

 Working with the other longstanding and accomplished organisations  - Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), Joburg Child Welfare (JCW) and The Borien Education Foundation (BEFSA) together they  have created an initiative which is a simple, social and sustainable way of giving to people in the region.

 The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba, jointly with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, support the Walk for Freedom Day initiative.

They said:   “We are delighted to give support to this innovative method of drawing people together to walk on perhaps the most important day in the South African calendar, giving us all a day to remember the legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela when he asked us to consider how the lives of the world’s children can be improved.    

The Walk for Freedom Day invites us to reflect what freedom means to us, and what it means to others – recognising that we need each other to sustain and expand our freedoms  – be that in our street, our village or our nation.  As followers of Christ, we have found a special quality arising from walking in solidarity with others, where we can share something of our stories, our hopes and dreams, in companionship with humanity as well as with our Creator. If you live in the UK, you can get involved in the Walk for Freedom Day – you’ll be helping young people find the freedom they need to thrive in our global village we call Earth.  It’s another way to create a neighbourhood to which we can all belong.”

The initiative is supported by the South African government agency Brand South Africa in the UK, and a range of individuals long associated with development in the region.   The Walk for Freedom Day invites people in the UK to come out on this important day to celebrate and give thanks for icons of freedom – those we know and all those working at the grassroots of our respective societies – and the ultimate icon of freedom, Nelson Mandela.

Spokesperson for the initiative, Tricia Sibbons, said  ‘Our aim is to enable anyone to come out and walk (or wheel) a minimum of 2.7 miles to mark both democratic elections on April 27 in 1994, and the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison.  Spring is here – come out and enjoy the day with us for good causes’. 

The walk is a simple, ‘family, friends and colleagues’ oriented event in a London park, and around the city of historic Gloucester.      Each Walker simply donates to the campaign through Just Giving or by other charitable donation via the Walk for Freedom Day website http://walkforfreedomday.com   or  http://www.ashacentre.org or direct to  http://www.justgiving.com/theashafdn

You can also organise your own 2.7 mile walk in your community  - contact us for details.

After these Walks, there is a chance to picnic in the London park, depending on the British weather! Bring your own supplies or purchase from the Cafe in the park.
Just go to the REGISTER PAGE AND sign up for whichever WFFD location you would like, and donate your entry fee of £10 via the site. Register children for £5 or families for £20 and make a family day out, since it is a beautiful park with all manner of things including a lake.   You will then get a confirmation email with directions to your chosen Walk site, and other information to help you enjoy the day.   

 WFFD is run by volunteers so your entire donation goes to support the work.  You can purchase commemorative  t-shirts made and hand-printed in South Africa at each of the Walk locations.

Every Freedom Walker will receive a wrist band momento of the WFFD 2014 and information on how the funds raised through the initiative are being used to improve lives and give opportunities to those who most need them.

Go to the site for more information or contact us:    info@walkforfreedomday.com


Zerbanoo Gifford, Founder of the ASHA Centre added “We share much heritage between the UK and Southern Africa, and we can create a future where all share in the benefits of democracy, access to education, healthcare, as well as protecting our environment.  I am glad to join this new expression of solidarity with each other in the pursuit of economic and social justice”.

If you would like to help on the day please email:  info@walkforfreedomday.com


Peter Chatterton,  Fiona Macmillan, Sarah McDowell, and the team at the ASHA Centre;  Charlotte Simms at Merton Council, and all the volunteers involved in making the Walk for Freedom Day happen.

T-shirts with the WFFD logo hand printed in Soweto will be available at the Walks for £10 each.  Or you can order by email and make your donation through Just Giving when you register.

WFFD uses Southern African sourced products and services.

Meet Lionel Hadebe whose company Makoya Media has refined the logo and handprinted our t-shirts in Soweto.  His company, Makoya Media, was assisted by the Huddleston Centre to reach the next level of development, through our ‘IGNITE’ entrepreneurship programme.

Thanks also to Nathi Makashane, who developed the WFFD website.  Nathi is a graduate of THMC and is now studying her honours at the University of Johannesburg in Information Technology.

For more information about the partner organisations go to:

ASHA Centre (UK charity no: 1058320). http://ashacentre.org

Borien Educational Foundation   http://www.befsa.org 

Action for Southern Africa     http://www.actsa.org

Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre http://www.trevorhuddleston.org       

Joburg Child Welfare http://www.jhbchildwelfare.org    


A tribute to Nelson Mandela, on the occasion of his lying-in-state, Pretoria, December 2013

A fleeting view of no more than a few seconds. We, the lucky ones, given a chance to gaze on our hero for only a few moments, but it was enough to bring the reality home – Nelson Mandela was gone, his body now an empty vessel for that great spirit which had been taken back to its source. Resplendent in one of his characteristic shirts, grey hair framing that familiar face.  Tears sprang and the throat constricted. Police handed out paper tissues as we made our way back down the steps to the terraces of the garden. There was a smell of jasmine, and in the setting sun, a peacefulness returned as we waited another hour for the coffin to be prepared to leave Union Buildings for the last time.  The group of people at the foot of the cliff were now singing. The national anthem played, the crowd parted by motorcycles preparing the way, and then, too quickly, the hearse with Tata’s coffin swept past.

That was our final view: draped in the flag of the free, democratic South Africa he had fought for, and inspired us to work towards, Tata Madiba, Nelson Rohlihlahla Mandela, was on his way to his final resting place, leaving us to face ourselves, better people for having had his influence in our lives, and yet still not quite content with the amount of Madiba ‘magic’ we had been given. It is the end of an era.

There are so many words written about Nelson Mandela, and so many words of his own available to us for ongoing inspiration, that it is difficult to round off this account of this special day.  It hardly suffices to say how humbling it was to meet Madiba and be in his presence a number of times in my life.  I have a cherished, personally addressed signed copy of his autobiography (thank you Theo and Lucy), and undeserved memories of a handshake, a smile, a comment about HIV, and a shared moment paying tribute to OR Tambo in 2005.  And in ending, what remains is the power of his joy at being free, at being alive to experience all shades of life and all types of people; all manner of occasions and the range of challenges that being human presents.  His daughter said he tried to live his life as authentically as possible.

If we add to that his gracious dignity, his generosity to others, his special concern for those less fortunate, then we can only mourn for a short time, since such a man is to be celebrated for another lifetime.

Tricia Sibbons

Nelson Mandela in London 1962.  He was jailed for treason in October 1963, and released on February 11 1990.  On his birthday, July 18, everyone is encouraged to volunteer 67 minutes to the service of other people, in tribute to his public service of 67 years, 27 of those in prison under apartheid law.