There are few voices as recognisable or powerful as that of the late former statesman, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. So, in 2008, when Mandela made a plea whilst addressing the crowds at his 90th birthday celebrations in Hyde Park, the world took notice:

It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now”

President Cyril Ramaphosa visiting the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Rondebosch, Mandela Day, 18th July 2019
President Cyril Ramaphosa visiting the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch, Mandela Day, 18th July 2019

A year later, on the 18th July 2009, Nelson Mandela International Day was launched via a unanimous decision of the United Nations General Assembly. A celebration of Madiba’s legacy, Mandela Day is a global movement to change the world for the better by donating 67 minutes of the day to helping others:

Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We’re asking you to start with 67 minutes” The Mandela Day Foundation

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the first Mandela Day and, in many cases, the 67 minutes has been extended to the whole day, with some organisations even celebrating Mandela Day month! This year the Nelson Mandela Foundation has launched a new Mandela Day strategy, entitled Mandela Day: The Next Chapter. The foundation has listed ten goals they would like to see achieved over the next ten years:

  1. The provision of quality education for all children
  2. All children in Early Childhood Development to have access to learning resources for development
  3. Reduce hunger in families through the provision of nutritious meals
  4. Eliminate malnutrition and stunting in young children
  5. Provide safe shelter for families to live and thrive in
  6. Eliminate homelessness
  7. Safe sanitation in every school
  8. Access to safe sanitation for all communities
  9. Dedicate more resources to poverty eradication projects
  10. Encourage public participation in the eradication of poverty and inequality

These goals will obviously require gargantuan effort, given the current state of our country, and indeed many parts of the world, but it all starts with a first step, and seeing the good that countless South Africans do every day, offers us hope!

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