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South African summer citrus plays lead role in Mandela International Day

The growers of South Africa summer citrus joined with the United Nations and the South African Consulate General of New York to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day July 18, which was Nelson Mandela's birthday.

"As South Africans, we are proud that Mr. Mandela set an example to make the world a better place for everyone," Suhanra Conradie, chief executive officer of the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum, said in a press release. "It is a privilege to export our fine fruit to the U.S. and around the world, and an equal privilege that our fruit can honor Mr. Mandela."

As part of the week's Nelson Mandela International Day programs, South African summer citrus growers joined United Nations and the South African Consulate General of New York personnel to distribute oranges and solicit pledges from people in New York, asking them to commit 67 minutes toward making their world better.

The number 67 is the number of years Nelson Mandela is considered to have been in service to his country. The Mandela Day campaign asks that individuals, groups and businesses donate 67 minutes of time on or around July 18 to give back to their community and the world.

On Thursday, July 18, the Bowery Mission received 67 cartons of South African summer citrus donated by the growers and importers AMC, Capespan, DNE World Fruit Sales and Seald Sweet.

In presenting the fruit to the Mission, the importers and the growers joined George Monyemangene, South African Consul General of New York, and Lebogang Mokwena, Consul Political, to offload the cartons from the delivery truck.

In a bucket brigade-like line, the cartons were passed hand-to-hand in symbolic multicultural and multinational unity toward easing the pain of hunger.

"We are grateful to the four importers who have joined us in this effort," Conradie said in the press release. "And we are ever appreciative of the support we receive from the South African Consulate General of New York for their support of the citrus program to the U.S."

The Bowery Mission has served homeless and hungry New Yorkers since 1879, and over the last year it has provided more than 376,700 meals, 35,400 bags of groceries, 79,900 nights of shelter and 57,400 articles of clothing to those in need.

The Forum facilitates logistical, marketing and sales support coordination of products for its members. Its mission is to maintain and expand its role as the preferred and reliable supplier of safe summer citrus for the United States.