Date(s) - 18/07/2023
Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated on 18 July every year in honour of the first democratically elected President of South Africa, the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009 and was first officially celebrated in 2010.
“It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.” Nelson Mandela
2023 marks the 10th anniversary of Madiba’s passing in December 2013. To commemorate this, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has themed the 10-Year Remembrance call to action “The Legacy Lives on Through You”.
On their website they write:
In the past, people were called upon to devote at least 67 minutes of their time to positively impact their communities and other people’s lives with the belief that people have the power to transform each other’s lives for the better. Is the spirit of Mandela Day still the same though? Does the legacy of Nelson Mandela live on?
After 29 years of democracy in South Africa, many believe living conditions are worsening. The global Covid-19 pandemic, which negatively affected the economy, was followed locally by wide-scale and damaging unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, destabilising the economy even further.
Violence is pervasive daily and threatens the safety and security of people in South Africa. Maladministration, corruption, load-shedding and rampant corruption at state level have left many without hope.
The vision Nelson Mandela had for this country has yet to be upheld. For various reasons, people in South Africa do not celebrate this significant day as much as they did in the past.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, however, believes that Mandela Day has the potential to support significant and catalytic change in the country. We believe the people have the power and Mandela Day amplifies that power.
Nelson Mandela’s vision for South Africa, the African continent and the world depend on each of us who have survived him. Indeed, the state has an integral role in making the Constitution a lived reality for all. However, it is also incumbent on the business sector, civil society, faith-based communities, and ordinary people to take responsibility for advancing Madiba’s legacy.
The call to action for Nelson Mandela International Day 2023 is “Climate, Food & Solidarity” and reflects some of the most urgent challenges facing people worldwide. This year we will focus on dismantling poverty and inequality by taking action against climate change and creating resilient food environments.
While the Foundation will always recognise the importance of immediate relief efforts, including providing shelter, food, clothing and many other necessities, we need to focus on sustainable interventions owned by communities and embrace the fact that Madiba’s legacy lives on through us. As community members, we can improve our conditions – it is truly in our hands now.
It is time for South Africans to stand up, join hands and build the country of Madiba’s dreams.