Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary, a hero, who gave 67 years of his life to fight apartheid, the official policy of racial segregation which was prevalent in South Africa in 1948. And his journey against social injustice resulted in 27 years of imprisonment. But, with dignified defiance Madiba, as Mandela is lovingly called, changed the social and political fabric of South African society by fighting for democracy. His long walk to freedom ended in him becoming the first president of a democratic South Africa.
Today, July 18 is officially recognized as Nelson Mandela International Day to not just honor this legend, but to encourage us to carry his legacy forward. The United Nations officially declared July 18, which is Mandela’s birthday, as Nelson Mandela International Day to recognize and acknowledge his service to humanity.
The celebration of Mandela Day is also a way by which the responsibility to make the world a better place is placed in our hands. It is a global call to take action, for people to “recognize their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better", says the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“Nelson Mandela has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years, beginning in 1942 when he first started to campaign for the human rights of every South African. His life has been an inspiration to the world,” the foundation said.
And how can you be part of Nelson Mandela International Day? 67 minutes is all you have to give to “take action and inspire change,” which is the motto of this day. Each of us has the ability to make an impact on our world, to make it better through service to others. And there is no shortage to the number of ways we can contribute to change:
• Volunteer at a local hospital or soup kitchen
• Support a charity or cause
• Volunteer at an animal shelter
• Help out at home
• Help the elderly
• Donate books or other reusable items
Nelson Mandela gave 67 years to humanity; let us begin with 67 minutes.