18th July 1918 marked the birth of Nelson Mandela– South African politician, revolutionary, philanthropist, lawyer and former President of South Africa.
The most well-known activist in South Africa, Nelson Mandela has earned global respect and recognition for his work against the Apartheid movement, against racism, for fighting against poverty and promoting social justice for all.
An activist who was sent to prison for 27 years for his efforts to end Apartheid and help further democracy and equality for everybody; Mandela was the first Black President of South Africa (from 1994-1999) elected through a fully representative democratic election.
In 2002, Mandela founded a non-profit organisation known as ‘46664’, in reference to Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison number; to promote awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Since 2009, 18th July is celebrated as Nelson Mandela International Day every year to recognize Mandela’s birthday along with a celebration of his work, life and legacy.
Nelson Mandela International Day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2009. It stemmed from a call to the nation that Mandela made in a closing statement of one of his speeches in 2007 when he addressed the next generation to take on the responsibility of continuing the struggle against social injustices.
Nelson Mandela fought for equality and social justice for 67 long years; and on every 18th July, the UN and Nelson Mandela Foundation urge the citizens of the world to devote 67 minutes of their time to help others and undertake some activity resulting in the betterment of others.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”- Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Many people and organizations across the world, participate in the Nelson Mandela International Day celebrations by doing community service though activities like volunteering, art, music and sports.
The “Father of the Nation” and “Founding Father of Democracy” in South Africa has won about 250 awards, accolades, honorary degrees and citizenships in recognition of his political achievements. These include Bharat Ratna by India (1990), Nishan-e-Pakistan by Pakistan (1992), the Nobel Peace Prize (1993), the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union (2002), the US Presidential Medal of Freedom (2002), honorary citizenship of Canada (2001) and honorary degrees from about 50 universities worldwide.
The films ‘Mandela and de Klerk’ (1997), ‘Invictus’ (2009) and ‘Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom’ (2013) have portrayed the life and work of Mandela.
Nelson Mandela International Day 2018 marks the centenary year of the former South African President’s birth. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is dedicating this year’s Mandela Day to Action Against Poverty.
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. – Nelson Mandela
You can do your bit to support Mandela’s work by giving 67 minutes of your day for social work. You can also spread awareness about the day using the hashtags #NelsonMandelaInternationalDay, #MandelaDay, #mandela, #Mandela100, #ActionAgainstPoverty or share someone’s volunteering stories using #Time2Serve.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela