Today, 18th July 2012, is a very special day indeed. Not only is it Nelson Mandela International Day, but it is also the great man’s 94th Birthday, and we would like to wish Madiba and very Happy Birthday!
A man who has devoted 67 years of his life to the service of humanity (plus 27 years in prison), Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected president of a ‘free’ South Africa, and due to his massive contribution to a culture of peace and freedom across the world, the UN decided to declare July 18th “Nelson Mandela International Day”.
As someone who is lucky enough to have lived in South Africa, I have seen firsthand how much Nelson Mandela is loved and respected by his fellow countrymen, of every creed and colour, and when you consider what he suffered to promote human rights, gender equality, and race relations, it is easy to understand why he is so revered.
To mark the 67 years Madiba has devoted to the world, the UN has joined with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to promote a 67-minute challenge.
“Take Action! Inspire Change” is the motto of this challenge, and all you need to do to take part is devote 67 minutes of your time helping others. By ‘donating’ just 67 minutes of your time (that’s one minute for every year Mandela donated!), you can help make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity, and together we can take a huge leap towards a global movement for good.
If you would like to take part in this special event, but do not know where to start, here are some tips from the Nelson Mandela Foundation:
- Make a new friend and get to know someone from a different cultural background.
- Help at the local animal shelter.
- Spend time with elderly or terminally ill neighbours who have no one to speak to.
- Create a food parcel and give it to someone in need.
- Donate your skills – help someone learn to read and write.
- Donate books, toys and games to a children’s centre.
- Organise a clean-up of your local park
We may not be able to achieve in 67 minutes what Nelson Mandela achieved in 67 years, but in the words of the great man himself:
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” – Nelson Mandela