As the country celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday by doing good deeds in his name, Park Meadows resident artist Solomon Mugutso celebrated him by immortalising him and founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela, Carolyn Steyn, in a painting.
“I have seen the work Carolyn does and how many lives she has touched through 67 Blankets, it’s amazing. She carries the spirit of Madiba and serves those in need selflessly.
“As we celebrate this special day, I wanted to give her a gift to remind her and thank her for what she does is the true Madiba spirit,” said Solomon.
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The 1560×1100 painting was unveiled and handed over to Carolyn on July 18 at the centre.
Solomon said it took him five days to paint the portrait which is worth R50 000.
“I had to first choose a picture that told her story of her and Madiba, also her work. I asked Lynton Lefevre, who is the ambassador of 67 Blankets, to send me photos of her. He sent me a couple of pictures and I chose this because of the position of her and Madiba moving.
“I was able to paint in such a way to show the movement because that’s what 67 Blanket is, a movement of touching lives like Madiba touched the world,” explained Solomon.
Carolyn was humbled by the painting.
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“I feel emotional and overwhelmed by this moment. I spend most of my time handing out blankets and visiting our nitwits and doing interviews. I thought I was coming here to collect and check on our team and I receive this. I’m really shocked,” said Carolyn.
He said this painting is befitting to Madiba’s centenary year.
“To have a painting of me with my Madiba I’m reminded how privileged I was to have spent time with him,” said Carolyn.
She said if she could have a chance to talk to Madiba she would just give him a hug and cry.
“The first time I meet him I was left in a room with him. I didn’t know what to say to the great man, I just cried. I could not believe a girl from Kensington is sitting with Madiba and that was special to me,” said Carolyn.
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She said with the time she had spent with Madiba she learned humanity and kindness.
“You should treat everyone equally. No one person is greater than the other. He was the kind of man who would shake your hand and personally thanked everyone for the work they did. He treated everyone with dignity,” said Carolyn.
“As we celebrate Madiba’s birthday people should learn to forgive. He came out of jail and showed the nation forgiveness. He was able to embrace his enemy and talk to them. We must learn that we can build the rainbow nation he envisioned,” said Carolyn.