Call to do good on Mandela Day
21 June 2011
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," one of the foundation's trustees, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, said in Johannesburg on Monday.
"But what it also means [this year], we are beginning to say, every day people must dedicate time to show love for your fellow citizens – not just Mandela – and make every day a Mandela Day."
Sexwale was speaking at the media launch of this year's Mandela Day. 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 to doing community work.
The celebrations will be preceded by the launch of the new Mandela quotations book on 28 June.
The SABC, South African Airways, the UN and Primedia 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," Sexwale said. "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."
The foundation's board chairperson, Professor Jakes 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," Gerwel said. "Let us rise to that challenge and make every day of our lives a Mandela Day and change the lives of people around us."
The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) 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."