“We can change the world and make it a better place.
It is in your hands to make a difference”
(Nelson Mandela, 18/7/1918 – 5/12/2013)
History will remember the late former South African President Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation. As we reflect on the Nelson Mandela legacy, we give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom and our future.
Nelson Mandela did not only leave us a legacy of peace, forgiveness and justice, but he also left us one of the best Constitutions in the world, which is fortified by a number of institutions that support our constitutional democracy. He will always be remembered as a man of integrity who embodied the values and principles he promoted – unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work and mutual respect.
This year as we celebrate 100 years since his birth all of us must commit to continuing his legacy by joining the fight against poverty and inequality.
A Servant of the People
Nelson Mandela saw himself first and foremost as a servant of the people to whom he owed a duty and whom he led by example. In his own words, on his release from prison:
“I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people… I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands”.
In November 2009 the UN General Assembly passed a Resolution declaring 18 July a Nelson Mandela International Day, in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity. The Resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
Mandela Day, therefore, is an international day. The idea was inspired by Nelson Mandela himself at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 when he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”
Nelson Mandela International Day is more than a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to take his life’s work into a new era and change our world for the better. It is a day for all of us to opt into humanity – to roll up our sleeves and play an active role in building our communities. This is an opportunity for each of us to share Nelson Mandela’s vision of a better future for all.
The theme behind Nelson Mandela International Day—”Take action, Inspire change”—highlights the importance of working together to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world. In tribute to the man who was also known as “Madiba,” people everywhere are encouraged to perform 67 minutes of community service on his birthday.
What about you? Can you spare 67 minutes of your time helping others?
Nelson Mandela International Day is a global call to devote 67 minutes to helping others – one minute for every year that Mandela spent serving humanity. By devoting just 67 minutes of your time on Mandela Day you can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and contribute towards a global movement for good.
The day is an opportunity to remind people that they can help, however small a gesture. One does not need to be part of a big group, shadowed by cameras. Individuals can serve in their own communities, in their own streets and backyards.
Here are some things you can do to take action and inspire change in your own little corner on July 18th, Nelson Mandela International Day:
• Make a new friend. Get to know someone from a different cultural background. Only through mutual understanding can we free our communities of intolerance and xenophobia.
• Read to someone who cannot read. Visit a local home for the blind and open up a new world for someone else.
• Help out at the local animal shelter. Dogs and cats without homes still need a walk and a bit of love.
• Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.
• Many terminally ill people have no one to speak to. Take a little time to have a chat and bring some sunshine into their lives.
• Take someone you know, who can’t afford it, to get their eyes tested or their teeth checked.
• Donate a wheelchair or guide dog, to someone in need.
• Volunteer at a hospital or orphanage.
On a date still to be announced, the South African Ambassador to Oman, HE Manabile Shogole, will lead South Africans in the Sultanate in carrying out community work in observation of Nelson Mandela International Day under the slogan “Make Everyday a Mandela Day!” Watch this space for more details!
“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” — (Nelson Mandela)