Mandela Day countdown begins
18 July 2012
The countdown to Nelson Mandela International Day 2012 has begun. Marked across the world on 18 July each year, Mandela Day aims to inspire people to take action to change the world for the better and, in doing so, to build a global movement for good.
On 18 July, coinciding with Mandela's birthday, individuals and organisations around the world are challenged to spend at least 67 minutes doing good work in their own communities in honour of the 67 years that Mandela gave in service and sacrifice.
The countdown was announced at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg on Monday.
Nelson Mandela International Day, now in its fifth year, was inspired by a speech Mandela gave at Hyde Park in London in June 2008, when he deliberately misread his speech to say "it is in your hands now" instead of the prepared "it's in our hands".
Recalling that moment on Monday, Achmat Dangor, the chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, urged people to remember the message: "Each one of us can do something to make this world a better place."
"We celebrate Nelson Mandela's legacy best and we honour him best by taking action and becoming part of this global movement of good."
This year, to mark Mandela's 94th birthday, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory has joined forces with South Africa's Department of Education in the 94+ Schools campaign, which aims to extend the great man's legacy by improving infrastructure in 94 schools across the country.
The Department of Education has also urged South African school pupils to sing Happy Birthday to Mr Mandela at 8am on 18 July.
This call has also been extended to people throughout the world to sing the song at their time on 8am on 18 July.
At Monday's launch two of Mandela's grandsons, Ndaba Mandela and Kweku Mandela-Amuah, and a great-grandson, Luvuyo Mandela, spoke of the Mandela Day programmes in which they will be involved, including planting trees, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, painting schools, and helping to stock school libraries.
But, as Luvuyo remarked, for those too busy on the day, it would be enough to mark it with "just a simple 'hello' good morning, a smile and something to uplift someone else's day."