A day to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader’s legacy
Nelson Mandela International Day commemorates the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela a charismatic leader, gave to South Africa and the world. Nelson Mandela the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa dedicated his life to the service of humankind — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of integrity and an international peacemaker.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela born in Mvezo, South Africa on 18th July 1918 has been an inspiration to the world. Listening to the ‘stories of his ancestors’ valour during the wars of resistance, he dreamed of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people. Nelson Mandela helped in bringing apartheid to an end and has been a global advocate for human rights. His actions made him the face of the antiapartheid movement, both within his country and internationally and landed him in prison for nearly three decades.
The UN General Assembly, in November 2009 via a unanimous decision announced 18 July his birthday as, “Nelson Mandela International Day” in respect of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of freedom and peace. The message behind Mandela Day is simple – everyone has the responsibility and the ability to change the world for the better. The United Nations declared his birthday “Mandela Day” in which the people across the globe are encouraged to do something positive for others for at least 67 minutes, in honour of the number of years Mandela dedicated to the freedom struggle.
The UN General Assembly recognises Nelson Mandela’s principles and his commitment to the service of humankind, in the fields of race relations, gender equality, conflict resolution, the conservation of human rights, promotion of reconciliation and social justice, fight against poverty and the rights and privileges of children and other helpless groups. It acknowledges his role and impact to the struggle for democracy internationally and the advancement of a culture of peace all over the world.
The idea of Mandela Day was inspired 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.” What better direction can we ask for as a nation?