Today, 18 July 2017, the world celebrated Mandela Day (or Nelson Mandela International Day).
The annual international day is held in honour of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the late South African anti-apartheid icon who was an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, philanthropist and former President (of SA). Mandela Day is not meant as a public holiday, but as a day to honour Mandela’s legacy and his values through community service. The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We’re asking you to start with 67 minutes.
Luzuko Koti, Director of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said the foundation is honoured that Mandela’s legacy is still continuing but urged people to honour the day every day. “Each and every one of us has the ability and responsibility to change the world for the better; that’s what uTata told us. And we, as the people, need to live by that,” said Koti.
UNIZULU’s Samkele Sokhela interviewed the University’s staff and students about the day and this is what they had to say:
Zethembiso Nkosi, student
“Not doing any charity work or volunteering on this day is against Tata’s values. The man spent nearly his whole life fighting for what was right. He was a true leader and a great example to everyone. So, in honour of uTata, I cooked for children. Basically, I spent the whole day with the children”.
Vusimuzi Ntshangase, Information Technology Technician
“I will have to visit my neighbours. They are at their late ages, so I will be cleaning their yard and then see what else I can do”.
Zamabomvu Ngubane, student
“I will be cooking for children that are living in a nearby orphanage and give away a few of my little brother’s toys because he is grown now”.
Karen Enslin, Administrator: Teaching and Learning
“The day means a chance for us to embrace our culture and everyone in South Africa because previously, we didn’t have that opportunity to interact with one another. So, it’s an awesome day for me. I will be helping with the charity event where we will be donating food and clothes to the needy”.
Ashwini Parusnath, Director: Risk and Compliance
“The day is such a great day because it reminds us of unity as a nation. You know, in order for us to go forward, we need to be united, so this is a great day for everyone. I will sure have to do something for charity”.
“Mandela Day is an important day in our calendar because this is a day in the year that reminds us- the whole universe- about Ubuntu, reconciliation, social justice and more positive things. As we always say, we urge people to make every day a Mandela day,” she concluded.
– Samkele Sokhela