Johannesburg – The Nelson Mandela Foundation has called on South Africans to participate in the second Nelson Mandela Day to be marked worldwide on the elderly statesman’s 93rd birthday on 18 July.
“The world has taken a position, including the United Nations, to mark this important day. But what it also means (this year), we are beginning to say everyday people must dedicate time to show love for your fellow citizens – not just Mandela and make everyday a Mandela Day,” said Human Settlements Minister and the foundation’s trustee, Tokyo Sexwale.
He was speaking at the media launch of this year’s Mandela Day in Johannesburg. The United Nations last year declared 18 July every year Mandela International Day in honour of South Africa’s struggle icon and one of the world’s most popular statesmen.
A host of activities are set to take place around the country, with individuals and organisations committing more than an hour of their time doing community work. The celebrations will be preceded by the launch of the new Mandela quotations book on 28 June.
The SABC, SAA, the UN and Prime Media are some of the organisations that have said they will be embarking on various initiatives to mark Mandela Day.
“Reconciliation in the world is the most difficult thing. That is why we have to protect the legacy of this man whom we all know as the greatest reconciler of all time. His message still has to find root so let’s go out there and make Madiba proud,” Sexwale said, adding that Madiba remains one of the most revered and influential persons in the world.
Achmat Dangor, the foundation’s CEO, said the newly launched Mandela Monday initiative had also received support thought the world while the foundation’s Board chairperson, Professor Gerwel, said Mandela Day provided “a rare” opportunity for citizens to make Madiba proud.
“We all know what he sacrificed … Nelson Mandela Day provides the opportunity for all of us to continue the work of Madiba and we call on everyone to take ownership of this initiative. Let us rise to that challenge and make every day of our lives a Mandela Day and change the lives of people around us,” he said.
The South African National Editors Forum is also lending its support for the day with an initiative planned by both print and electronic media.
SANEF’s Raymond Louw said: “Nelson Mandela, through his hard work, made the world a better place for journalists… he made a great contribution to media freedom and continues to inspire many of us.
“Mandela had opened his office to us for structured interactions and today we have meetings with the presidents … and this is due to the examples he set and for that, we honour him as a champion of the media.” – BuaNews