Make Mandela Day a collective effort, says Madiba

Former president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday called on people to dedicate their time and effort to serving their communities, as his life is celebrated on July 18.

“We are humbled by the call for an annual Mandela Day in our honour. Our struggle for freedom and justice was a collective effort. Mandela Day is no different,” said Mandela in a video message recorded for Mandela Day on Saturday.

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.”

Mandela Day will not be a holiday but a day devoted to service.

“It is our hope that people will dedicate their time and effort to improve the conditions within their own communities. We thank you for participating in Mandela Day,” he said.

Nelson Mandela Day was instituted at the urging of the Nelson Mandela Foundation to celebrate his 67 years in politics, from his pivotal role in the anti-apartheid struggle, to his presidency, and finally to his work as mediator in peace talks and as an Aids activist.

President Jacob Zuma outlined plans to commemorate the political life of the Nobel Prize laureate in his State of the Nation address earlier this year.

His call was for all South Africans to dedicate 67 minutes of their time in service of others on Mandela’s birthday. Each minute represents a year of Mandela’s life spent fighting for freedom and justice in South Africa.

“We can best honour our icon, Madiba, through attempting, in our own small ways, to do what he would be proud of. Nothing would please him more than to see all South Africans, black and white, active in the service of humanity,” Zuma said.

“Madiba contributed his entire adult life to this country and its people. This is the least we can do to honour him and take forward his legacy,” said Zuma.

The president will be spending his 67 minutes with the elderly in Ivory Park. Ministers and ANC MPs will also devote 67 minutes to community service on July 18 to mark the first Nelson Mandela Day.—Sapa

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