Every year on 18 July South Africans together with the global community honour our late former president and international icon Nelson Mandela in the celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day.
The day was officially adopted by the United Nations in November 2009 as an annual international day. The UN noted that marking the day recognises Mandela’s “values and his dedication to the service of humanity” and acknowledging his contribution “to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world”.
The overarching objective of Nelson Mandela International Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good.
The idea is to do something that will benefit those around us on Nelson Mandela International Day as it was inspired by Mandela himself. He said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”
The Nelson Mandela International Day campaign asks that individuals, groups and corporates pledge 67 minutes of their time on 18 July, and every day thereafter, to give back. It offers South Africans and the world an occasion to honour the ethos of the late former President Mandela.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation declared that this year the campaign would focus on fighting poverty under the theme: #ActionAgianstPoverty. Poverty impacts the entire country and is the root cause of malnutrition, poor education, disease, skills deficit, unemployment, loss of dignity and even anger and violence.
In the fight against poverty Madiba said: “We need to restore and reaffirm the dignity of the people of Africa and the developing world. We need to place the eradication of poverty at the top of world priorities. We need to know with a fresh conviction that we all share a common humanity and that our diversity in the world is the strength for our future together.”
Government encourages South Africans to join in marking the day by using their time to support a chosen charity or serve in their local community.