South Africa: Lending a Hand for Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela smiles during a meeting in Johannesburg in this file photo dated 2 June 2009. Mandela celebrates his 94th birthday on Wednesday.

South Africans and people the world over will today roll up their sleeves and lend a hand in their communities to mark the 10th anniversary of International Nelson Mandela Day.

Celebrated annually on Mandela's birthday, 18 July, the 2019 leg comes on what would have been the late statesman and global icon's 101 birthday.

Popularly known as Mandela Day - the day embodies the words of Mandela when he said "It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all".

Madiba said these words to encourage people to take the torch of public service to everyone.

On this day, ordinary people take 67 minutes out of their day to clean-up their neighbourhoods, volunteer at shelters and give to the less fortunate through various acts of service.

The 67 minutes symbolise the 67 years Madiba dedicated to social justice.

With Madiba well-known for his love for children, President Cyril Ramaphosa will mark his Mandela Day with a visit to RX radio, the Red Cross Children's Hospital radio station staffed by children at the hospital in Rondebosch.

As a studio guest the President will be interviewed by the young radio anchors whose interaction will be broadcast to children and staff around the hospital.

Cabinet also called on all South Africans to go beyond the activities for the day and use the month to uphold the legacy of Madiba.

"Let us all participate in this global initiative named after one of our iconic leaders and build sustainable programmes that last beyond the month of July," said Cabinet in its statement.

This year, Mandela Day will be commemorated under the theme Mandela Day: The Next Chapter, to mark the tenth anniversary of the initiative.

In light of this theme, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has called on people, governments, civil society and corporates to mobilise and focus on these five areas: education and literacy, food and nutrition, shelter, sanitation and active citizenship.

Under these key areas - 10 goals are envisioned to carry Madiba's legacy.

The first goal is the provision of quality education for all children, followed by goal two which seeks to ensure that all children in Early Childhood Development (ECD) to have access to learning resources for development.

The third goal is to reduce hunger in families through the provision of nutritious meals coupled with goal four which aims to eliminate malnutrition and stunting.

Goal five aims to provide safe shelter for families to live and thrive in, while goal six calls for the elimination of homelessness in young children.

Sanitation that is safe in every school is set down as goal seven while goal eight aims to enable access of safe sanitation for all communities.

Goal nine calls for more resources to support poverty eradication projects.

The final goal encourages public participation and activist voices towards the eradication of poverty and inequality.

To mark the 10th anniversary, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will be mapping a vision for the next ten years at a media briefing.

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