International Nelson Mandela Day is celebrated in honour of President Mandela on an annual basis, while encouraging all global citizens to take responsibility for improving each other’s lives and addressing the world’s social injustices.
This significant day which was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, is celebrated each year on 18 July which is the birthday South African struggle stalwart.
Every year on 18 July people around the world devote 67 minutes of their time to helping others. The 67 minutes are in line with the 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted to the service of humanity, counted up to 2009. In 2009, Nelson Mandela Foundation stated that “Mandela has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years, beginning in 1942 when he first started to campaign for the human rights of every South African.”
“Take action, inspire, change, make every day a Mandela Day!” urged Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO, Mr. Sello Hatang. In his address, he highlighted Mandela’s three rules: free yourself, free others, and serve every day. Mandela Day actions, no matter how big or small, should focus on restoration of dignity and empowerment through contributions. As Mandela once said, “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.”
By devoting 67 minutes of your time you can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good. People around the world are urged to join in and donate 67 minutes of their time in serving their local community on Nelson Mandela Day. For 67 years (if counted up to 2009) Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity – as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected President of a free South Africa. Mandela saw himself first and foremost as a servant of South Africa’s people to whom he owed a duty and whom he led by example.
The message behind Mandela Day is simple: If we simply do good every day, we would be able to build a country of our dreams.
In Romania, the South African Embassy in partnership with Inocenti Foundation and “Ferdinand” Secondary School in Bucharest will organise an event on Monday with and for the underprivileged children.
The Embassy staff will help the children make African necklaces and elaborate a painting with hand prints around Nelson Mandela’s photo, for the little ones to realise that “it is in their hands to make a difference”. The paint tubes donated by the Embassy will reflect the six colours of the South African flag.
The event will be attended by South African Ambassador to Romania, Mrs. Thenjiwe Mtintso, who will share with the children Mandela’s legacy and values based on the concept of Ubuntu, meaning solidarity, care, love, generosity, humanity, respect for the others and for life. Mandela Association representatives also announced their participation in the event.
Inocenti Foundation has been offering support to children and families in difficulty and has been preventing child abandonment in Romania since 1990. The Foundation’s goal is to make sure that all underprivileged children and children with special needs get the necessary support to reach their maximum potential. The Foundation’s programmes prevent school abandonment and support social integration of underprivileged children.