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Nelson Mandela Day 2016

By Marike Lauwrens 3 years ago
Categories Volunteering

Happy Nelson Mandela Day 2016!

After a unanimous decision made by the UN General Assembly in 2009, Nelson Mandela International Day kicked off and has been celebrated annually on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday, ever since. Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for social justice and human rights and the idea is that people around the world devote at least 67 minutes of their day to some sort of community service.

As the official Mandela Day website states, “it is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.”

Who was Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, or warmly referred to as Madiba, was a passionate South African who fought against the Apartheid regime during the 1960’s. His resistance against the former government came at a great cost; he was arrested and sentenced to jail. He was released in 1990 after spending 27 years in prison on Robben Island. Together with F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s president at that time, Madiba worked towards ending Apartheid. His undying efforts to end Apartheid has deserved him the title of ‘freedom fighter’.

Nelson Mandela Day

Some Madiba Facts

• He studied law at the University of the Witswatersrand in his earlier years.
• As the former leader of the ANC political party Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994
• Over the last 2 decades Mandela worked towards promoting peace and was involved with various education and childcare initiatives
• De Klerk and Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993
• He started a trend with his bold ‘Madiba shirts’ and his trademark ‘shuffle dance’

How To Celebrate Mandela Day

Mandela Day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the formidable footsteps of Madiba, a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. Its objective is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better and in so doing, to build a global movement for good.”

The main idea behind this day is that each person has the ability and responsibility to improve the world we live in. Any person can join the movement and give back by devoting 67 minutes of your time to a good cause. The following fields are particularly important in the light of Mandela Day celebrations:

• Shelter and infrastructure
• Food security
• Environment
• Education and literacy

Nelson Mandela Day

How Will You Spend Your 67 Minutes?

As a global citizen it is your responsibility to make an effort to bring about some positive change in the world. Here are some examples of projects that have been launched in celebration of this day:

• A team of bikers drove around to perform various good deeds, including visiting Bethany Home in Johannesburg, South Africa, to plant a vegetable garden
• Opening a Mandela Library on the grounds of the Ebomini Primary School in Ivory Park, South Africa
• 10324 blankets were knitted for people in need and laid out at Drakenstein Correctional Centre in Paarl, South Africa, where Madiba took his first steps to freedom
• Operation Hydrate was launched in South Africa to collect and distribute drinking water to disadvantaged communities and is partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Nelson Mandela Day

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” – Nelson Mandela

The life and legacy of this late legend whom South African’s proudly call their ‘father of the nations’ has sure sparked a special movement. Let’s stand together as a global nation to make a difference in the world, not just today, but every day.

GVI is an international award-winning volunteer organisation. Learn more about our volunteer projects and internships around the world.