Fellow South Africans,

As a people, and quite correctly, we proudly claim ownership of the value system described as Ubuntu. Accordingly we do not hesitate to affirm the saying – umntu ngumntu ngabanye.

Consequently what makes us Proudly South African is to see our fellow citizens voluntarily giving something of themselves to help others among our people who might be in need. So highly does our nation value such service to others that it instituted the national Order of the Baobab to recognize and honour those who have rendered such outstanding service.

As human beings we cannot survive without the required amount of healthy blood in our bodies. All of us become particularly conscious of this when we read or hear of people who have lost blood through car accidents and require blood transfusions. What many of us are not aware of is that such life-saving blood transfusions are also required by women experiencing complications during childbirth, people undergoing general surgery, and others such as children suffering from severe anaemia and even cancer patients.

Everyday our hospitals and clinics treat thousands of our fellow citizens who need such blood transfusions. It is this daily reality which must remind us that – umntu ngumntu ngabanye: I am because you are!

These fellow citizens in need, regardless of race, colour, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, are in urgent need of our assistance, given willingly in the spirit of Ubuntu. That assistance is the blood all of us should donate through the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) and which is required every day in large quantities.

I therefore urge all of you, dear compatriots, to approach the SANBS to learn if you are eligible to donate blood. If you are, then please donate not once, but at least three times a year, as your first donation will not be released for use until the second donation has been received. This forms part of the many safety precautions designed to ensure that at all times our country has a sufficient quantity of blood to save the lives of those in need of blood transfusion.

Let the donation of blood become a way of life for us as South Africans, inspired by the noble values of Ubuntu!

Thabo Mbeki


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