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Sunday, April 3, 2016


(Carolyn Steyn, the founder of 67 Blankets)

Initially, celebrities hauled out their knitting needles for Madiba. Then they invested in crochet hooks. And now they've brought their mics to the table, and non-profit organisation 67 Blankets for Mandela has its own song.

Like the beautifully crafted blankets that keep thousands of people around the world warm, each verse of the song was stitched together with lots of love and care by selfless people who wanted to be part of something bigger. Renowned musicians PJ Powers, Timothy Moloi and Proverb donated their voices. The lyrics to the moving 67 Blankets Anthem were written by 11-year-old Ella Grealy and two prison inmates, Ntutuzelo Mdingi and Nkosinathi Majola. Musician Neill Solomon wrote the music  and Mauritz Lotz did the arrangement.

Each time the song is downloaded, it will raise funds for the 67 Blankets journey. And its going for a song on various platforms from as little as R7.50. Two versions of 67 Blankets Anthem are already available, and a third is in the pipeline. Some of the money raised from sales of the song will go towards having Buskaid play on version three. Who knows maybe the combination of Ella, the two Zonderwater prisoners, acclaimed flautist Wouter Kellerman and Buskaid could notch up another Grammy win for Kellerman. The rest of the sales will go to wool.

As 67 Blankets gears up to take back its world record for the biggest crocheted blanket recently snatched by a blanket measuring more than 11,000 square metres in India on April 22, it is also getting ready for a huge recording of the new anthem.

Prior to the world record attempt, there will be an event at Steyn City, near Sandton, on April 10 with Lead SA, said founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, Carolyn Steyn.

“We need all knit-wits to buy the song so that we can film them singing the song on April 10 at Mandela Park.”

Brendan Grealy, who was the driving force behind the song, explained how his daughter, Ella (who is also Steyn’s god daughter) starting writing it in January 2015. “We were seated at the piano and, as is her wont, she just plays and sings,” Grealy explained.

Grealy approached his old mate Neil Solomon about writing the music, the other lyricists and musicians signed up and all of a sudden a very good backing track was in place.

PJ Powers, Tim Moloi and Proverb recorded in Solomon’s Passage One Studios. A video was produced by Richard Nosworthy of Plum productions. The fact that world-famous recording artists agreed to perform on the record was testament to how highly people regard Carolyn Steyn’s 67 Blankets initiative, said Grealy.

A second version of the anthem has been recorded. Nate Butler, a well-known producer from the United States re-arranged the original and come up with a different version of the same song. This second rendition of the 67 Blankets Anthem also features Blaze Johnson, a finalist on The Voice USA team Adam Levine, and once again Tim Moloi.

Both songs are available on iTunes just type 67 Blankets into the information box for R7.99 for one or both for R15.98. On MTNplay, the song is available for R7.50 and the ringtone for R2. The songs are also available on CCA (Content Connect Africa).

Stitch by stitch, note for note, and download for download, the 67 Blankets team of volunteers will continue to endeavour to keep people warm this winter.

For more information visit or 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (South Africa) Facebook page.