Every year on July 18, Nelson Mandela Day is celebrated to commemorate the hard work and trying times Mandela faced to end apartheid in South Africa and to becoming the first black president of South Africa. The Mandela Foundation wants to advocate for his ideals, particularly the significance of a single, thoughtful act, and the positive change achieved through collective action sustained by individuals working for the global good. It was created to inspire people, especially young people, to act with gratitude and work to achieve equality globally.
Nelson Mandela International Day was declared in 2009 by a unanimous vote in the UN General Assembly on the anniversary of his birthday. This year’s Nelson Mandela Day, which would have been Mandela’s 99th birthday, is themed around #ActionAgainstPoverty. Poverty is not only a global feat, but it is also specific to South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Foundation wants to tackle it due to South Africa’s dire poverty problem, which includes the fact that 63% of South African children alone living in poverty.
Initially, one goal of Nelson Mandela Day was to prompt all participants to dedicate 67 minutes on the day—a minute for every year Mandela spent working towards equality—towards some form of community service. There has been a shift by the organizers from advocating for 67 minutes on July 18 alone, to encouraging a wider goal of 67 minutes of community service every day. You can volunteer at your local homeless shelter, clean up litter, donate your unwanted items, but the general idea is to act thoughtfully in order to make a positive impact. The smallest effort, the simplest good deed, commemorates Nelson Mandela’s legacy, because it is an effort that aims to better the world.
“TAKE ACTION. INSPIRE CHANGE. MAKE EVERY DAY A MANDELA DAY.”
For more information, visit mandeladay.com.