Mandela Day is celebrated internationally on 18 July in remembrance of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who served as our President from 1994 to 1999.  It was unanimously decided by the UN General Assembly to launch Mandela Day on Nelson Mandela’s birthday of 18 July 2009.  This day is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy – it is a global movement to honour his life’s work and change for the better.

It is with this thought in mind that the 67 minute challenge came into being – one minute for every year of Mr Mandela’s public service.  What easier way to commemorate such a day than too spend the time donating blood and saving at least three lives?

The WP Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) is not only celebrating Mandela Day, but rather Mandela Month.  “We’d like to give our donors an opportunity to donate blood during the whole month, as we are currently experiencing a decline in blood collections,” says Marlize van der Merwe, WPBTS Spokesperson.  “We need to collect 700 units of blood per day to fulfil the demand of Western Cape hospitals, which is quite a challenge during winter when colds and flu deter people from donating blood.”

Any person older than 16 years, weighing more than 50kg and who leads a healthy, safe lifestyle can donate blood.  Donors must remember to eat three to four hours before donating blood and increase their fluid intake before, during and after blood donation.

For more information, SMS “Blood” to 33507 and the WP Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) will call you back with information on where to donate.  Donors can also call (021) 507 6300, e-mail or visit  Like us on Facebook (WP Blood) or follow us on Twitter (@WPBlood) for interesting facts and blood stock updates.