Nelson Mandela Day – book collection

What are you doing for your 67 minutes on 18th July, 2013?

Books for Children in South Africa — Can you help?

The United Nations has designated Nelson Mandela’s birthday every 18th July as Nelson Mandela International Day, when people throughout the world are encouraged to give 67 minutes of voluntary service to the community in whatever way they choose, to help change the world for the


On that date this year ACTSA Scotland (Action for Southern Africa) is asking people to use their 67 minutes to sort out and bring us children’s books to be sent to school libraries in Nelson Mandela’s home Province of Eastern Cape, with which Scotland has a particular link.

What are needed are children’s books of all kinds, in English, to encourage reading for fun. This helps to develop fluency in reading English which is vital for all parts of the children’s education. (Their mother tongue is mainly Xhosa, but education is mostly in English).

Story books or factual books, for all ages from pre-school to teenagers, are welcome — Books that will amuse, absorb, inform and catch the imagination of young readers.

They must be in good condition, please — no loose or taped up pages, or badly damaged covers, and factual books should not be too out of date.

Any help with the cost of shipping the books to South Africa would also be very welcome — A container holds 1000 boxes, costing £3.50 each to send.

On 18th July a number of collection points in towns and cities across Scotland will be open to receive donations of books. Contact ACTSA Scotland at the

ACTSA Scotland, 52, St. Enoch Square, Glasgow G1 4AA

John Nelson


(Please don’t bring books to this small unstaffed office — Contact us first

Nelson Mandela International Day. In 2012 ACTSA Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Scottish TUC and Glasgow City Council joined forces to hold the first celebration of Mandela Day in Scotland, including dispatching ACTSA Scotland’s ninth container-load of books from George Square in Glasgow.

For 2013, those same bodies have linked up with others to widen the scope of the Day in Scotland. Voluntary organisations of all kinds are inviting old and new supporters to carry out voluntary work that day, in their own particular fields. The 67 minutes figure is a reflection of Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service before his final retirement from public life. There is, of course, no compulsion to stop work at the end of 67 minutes — nor to serve only on this day!

ACTSA Scotland’s appeal is for help with gathering books for South Africa, but we are glad to encourage voluntary service of all kinds, through any organisation or none, and with or without any connection with South Africa.

The Book Appeal

ACTSA Scotland has been collecting and sorting books for school libraries in Eastern Cape since 1995, and has sent some 450,000 so far. The donated books are sorted and packed in the basement
of Hillhead Library in Glasgow (thanks to the hospitality of Glasgow Life) and stored there until roughly 1000 boxes are ready to fill a container. As well as donated books, help with sorting and packing is always welcome, as are offers of help with fetching books from donors
across Scotland, or with fundraising for the shipping costs.

ACTSA Scotland co-operates closely with Community HEART, a Manchester-based charity which gathers books from all over the U.K. for all parts of South Africa. It was founded by Denis Goldberg, a colleague of Mandela.

ACTSA Scotland

ACTSA Scotland (Action for Southern Africa) is the successor organisation to the Anti-Apartheid Movement Scottish Committee, which was deeply involved in the campaign for freedom in
South Africa and for the release of Nelson Mandela during his long years in prison for fighting apartheid. We were glad to help bring him to Scotland in 1993.

Since 1994 we have worked for solidarity between Scotland and Southern Africa through creating links of all kinds, of which the Book Appeal is one practical example. We have a particular connection with Eastern Cape.

Sponsored walks in Eastern Cape in support of community organisations there, selling crafts on a small scale from community producers in Southern Africa, campaigning for democracy in Swaziland and Zimbabwe and for justice for South African miners with silicosis, and meetings and
lectures on where South Africa has come from, are all part of ACTSA Scotland’s work.

The following places have kindly agreed to accept donations of children’s books for ACTSA Scotland on Mandela Day – Thursday, 18th July.

Five are trade union offices arranged for us through the STUC and the sixth is the office of an ACTSA supporter, and we are grateful to all involved. You will see that there are many towns plus Aberdeen city which aren’t covered, and we would welcome offers of further collection points.

Kimberley Buildings,
38 Whitehall Street

35 Young Street North Lane

333 Woodlands Road
G3 6NG

UNISON Highland Area Resource Centre
53 Shore Street,

9 The Foregate

Independent Financial Advice Centre (Glasgow) Ltd.,
67, Causeyside Street,


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