On 18 July, South Africa will join the global community in commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day. The intention behind Mandela Day is to celebrate former President Nelson Mandela's life and legacy and to recommit to his call to build a caring and better world.
Many will spend the day by doing something that will make a difference in their communities and staying true to Madiba's words that "it is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all".
This year's Mandela Day will be commemorated under the theme "One hand can feed another". This theme was chosen to respond to the immediate challenges of families in our communities that cannot afford food and many other basic necessities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The public can donate non-perishable food items to the Nelson Mandela Foundation's #Each1Feed1 distribution network at all participating malls on Mandela Day. Participating malls will have clearly marked signage and those dropping off donations will be met by a Mandela Day representative at the collection point. This initiative will run for a period of six months.
This year's commemoration comes as our government is taking appropriate measures to restore law and order following acts of public violence and destruction of property. President Cyril Ramaphosa described these acts as one of a "kind rarely seen in the history of our democracy".
These acts threatens the integrity of our democratic and constitutional democracy based on justice, equality, the rule of law and fundamental human rights. As a nation we should not allow the violence to continue as it goes against our acclaimed Constitution - a lauded social contract to heal the division of our past.
Those who have attempted to divide us have failed because South Africans are united in our diversity. Their attempts failed because of the efforts of our security forces, and it has failed because South Africans have rejected it and have stood up in defence of our hard-won democracy.
For now, our priorities are to stabilise the country, to secure essential supplies and infrastructure, to provide relief and support recovery and rebuilding, to encourage the active efforts of citizens in defence of lives, livelihoods and democracy
President Cyril Ramaphosa called on all South Africans to join the clean up on Nelson Mandela day.
"This Sunday, South Africans will join people across the world in celebrating Nelson Mandela Day. As we reaffirm our commitment to our democracy, let us use Mandela Day to provide food to the most vulnerable in our society, to clean up our streets and to start the task of rebuilding".
We therefore appeal to all South Africans to use Mandela Day to lend a helping hand in our national effort to rebuild from public violence. There are no set rules, simply do any act of kindness that will positively impact communities affected by the violence. Every action counts, do something today for someone in your community to help rebuild South Africa.
You can encourage your friends to lend a hand in the #CleanUpSA initiative to clean up the damage caused by public violence or donate food to those in need. Community formations, NGOs and faith-based organisations can also help by ensuring that the destitute, and the needy are provided with basic necessities.
Government salutes citizens and businesses who have come together to gather and share food and other essentials to those affected by violence especially in KwaZulu-Natal. These patriotic deeds are a true reflection of our character as a nation and it is this spirit which gives us hope for the future and with which we can build our future together.
As part of the rebuilding initiative, stakeholders in the agriculture value chain have committed to work together with government in responding to the challenges related to the food supply chain. Government assures all South Africans that we have sufficient food supplies in the country and the immediate problem in supply chains in KwaZulu-Natal are receiving urgent attention.
Government is also working with the private sector to ensure a sufficient supply of food and fuel. There are sufficient petroleum products on hand and government is now working to secure its movement. The N3 Toll Route between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has also now been fully opened.
We can restore our nation by helping one person at a time. Every action we take has a knock-on effect, which will soon snowball into rebuilding our nation. It is through this united front that we can build stronger communities and stronger societies.
As we celebrate the life and legacy of Madiba, we should remember his powerful words when he said, "our nation comes from a history of deep division and strife; let us never through our deeds or words, take our people back down that road".
We must never allow that to happen. Instead, we should unite to fight against all forms of violence including racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the country. As citizens we have a duty to fulfil the promise of building a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous country in which all who live in it are treated fairly.
We therefore call on all South Africans to defend our democracy and ensure that the principle of the rule of law prevails.