South Africa: 67 Minutes of Change – Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela

Many people know that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life in a prison on Robben Island in South Africa. What most people don’t know is that Madiba (as he is affectionately known in South Africa) spent 67 years in the fight against racism and poverty. South Africa’s former President will turn 92 on Sunday, 18 July 2010. For the past 16 years, South Africans have been celebrating Madiba’s birthday with fervor and enthusiasm. In 2002, however, Nelson Mandela himself used this day to launch his global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign, 46664.

In 2009, the success of the 46664 campaigns and celebrations evolved to what is now known as “Mandela Day”, a day in which people around the world dedicate 67 minutes to making the world a better place for all. The organisers explained:

It was decided that there could be nothing more fitting than to celebrate Madiba’s birthday each year with a day dedicated to his life’s work and that of his charitable organisations and to ensure his legacy continues forever.

2009’s Mandela Day was a roaring success in South Africa. So much so that 2010 will be the first Nelson Mandela International Day as Joburg reports:

It will be the first Nelson Mandela International Day, as the United Nations passed a resolution on the day in November 2009, declaring 18 July an international day set aside for humanitarian activities. It is the first time the organisation has dedicated an international day to an individual, recognising him as a symbol of hope for those who are oppressed and marginalised.

Although the day will be celebrated worldwide, Madrid, in Spain has been chosen as the host of the first official Nelson Mandela International Day celebration concert, at which BB King is billed to perform.

New Yorkers will also host its own celebration concert. Staying with New York, an installation celebrating the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela was put on display in Grand Central Terminal in New York in honour of Mandela Day 46664. The installation features six illuminated 3-D action words: act, listen, lead, unite, learn and speak. The front of each word shows key messages that reveal Nelson Mandela’s values and inspire visitors to act.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation reports:

In Italy, the Firenze City Council, in conjunction with the Mandela Forum, have arranged for a video about Mr Mandela, the movie Invictus and Mandela Day, to be aired at the Mandela Forum as well as at an open air cinema in Florence. The Firenze City Council has committed to supporting Mandela Day and encourages all citizens of Florence to get involved in the global movement for good by signing a resolution in support of Mandela Day.

Mandela’s call to action was also heard by Cuba:

The Foreign Relations Commission of the Cuban parliament agreed today in an extraordinary meeting to commemorate every July 18 as the International Day of Nelson Mandela.

South Africans have also heeded the call to spend 67 minutes of their day to improve lives in the country. Activities have been set up around the country whereby people may volunteer their time.

PastorMosaSono asks:

Who's joining us at Chris Hani Bara tomorrow @08h30 for the 67min Mandela Day clean up campaign?

MuffinMegain asserts:

Good afternoon Everyone! Who's joining us at Chris Hani Bara tomorrow @08h30 for the 67min Mandela Day clean up campaign? #TeamPsSono

A blogger at Hope Blog says that we should not consider Mandela Day a holiday:

Each of us can make a small difference and our collective efforts can truly change the world. Nelson Mandela Day is not a holiday – it is a day for all of us to all come together through action.

Help us to share Nelson Mandela’s vision of a better future for all, take action this weekend, and tell us about it on our Facebook Page. Need some inspiration? Our staff will be sharing their individual volunteer efforts for Nelson Mandela on Facebook as well, and here are 67 ideas on how to change the world.

This is how farm workers in Stellenbosch, South Africa, will honor Mandela Day:

Farm workers in have urged volunteers to spend 67 minutes with them on Sunday, in celebration of International Mandela Day.

The group “Women on Farms” has set aside a piece of land for unemployed female workers, giving them a chance to put food on the table.

The initiative aims to alleviate gender discrimination within the agricultural sector.

Tanzanian blogger, Simba Deo, emphasises the value of self-sacrifice:

It in giving that we receive
In loving that we are loved
In sacrificing that others do sacrifice for us
Self sacrificing for others is key to improving peace, sustaining development, sustaining freedom and justice. The opposite would be seeking for personal glory. Whatever we do, we should do it because we believe in it and that it is for humanity and not for personal glory.

Dorin and the Bush Warriors Clan want us to honor Mandela by protecting wildlife and the environment:

The amazing things Nelson Mandela has done reaches far beyond humans, as he has done many things for wildlife and the environment as well. Much like his dreams for human rights, Nelson Mandela has also dreamed of African wilderness being unified in peace across many countries. He once told National Geographic journalist, Peter Godwin, “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself…I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment. Transfrontier parks are a way we can do just that.”
We recently brought you the story about his plan to save southern Africa’s elephants with the implementation of Elephant Corridors. It is through his involvement with his organization, the Peace Parks Foundation, along with Sir Richard Branson, Mike Humphries, and Virgin Unite that this dream will become a reality.

There is also “Bikers for Mandela Day” – a group of 21 motorbike riders (and Morgan Freeman) who are on a six-day road trip around Cape Town in spread the word about Mandela Day.

And if you’re still not convinced, have a look at this passionate plea by The Elders

Madiba said on his last ever international visit in London, June 2008:

It is time for the next generations to continue our struggle against social injustice and for the rights of humanity. It is in your hands.


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