Nelson Mandela International Day is also known as Mandela Day. It is observed every year on 18 July across the globe on the great revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist birthday. This day remembers Mandela's contribution to the culture of peace, human right, reconciliation and freedom.
The day is celebrated to “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.” Everywhere people should take responsibility for making the world a better place. Do you know that Nelson Mandela fought against social justice for almost 67 years? Since 2009, on 18 July it has been an official United Nations holiday.
“Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.”
He had devoted his life to the service of humanity; as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. He proved that nothing is impossible only determination is required to fulfil the dreams.
Nelson Mandela: History
Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela in Transkei, South Africa on 18 July, 1918. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and father Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela. His father died, 12 years later and so he became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place at Mqhekezweni. There he always listened to the stories about the valour of the ancestors struggled for freedom. For his B.A Degree, he went to the University College of Fort Hare. But, he didn't receive his degree due to the student protest he was expelled from the college. Then, he went back to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni where the king threatened him that if he will not complete his degree, he will going to arrange a marriage for him.
“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.”
Due to this, he ran to Johannesburg, where he worked as a mine security officer. Eventually, he had completed his studies through the University of South Africa and received his B.A. No doubt he is one of the most well-known anti-apartheid activists in South Africa.
In 1940, he became a member of the African National Congress party and later he became leader in a number of peaceful protests against the white minority’s regime in South Africa. He was imprisoned on Robben Island, off Cape Town in South Africa in 1963 for leading the liberation movement against apartheid and for his stance on the human right to live in freedom. His prisoner number was 466.
Even the Robben Island prisoners were never referred by their names but by their numbers and year of imprisonment. Mandela number was 46664. In 1990, he was released from imprisonment and contributed towards a multi-racial democracy in South Africa. In 1994, due to his efforts he was elected as the president of South Africa. Therefore, he became the first black president of South Africa. Till 1999, he remained president in an office. In 1993, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, together with another former South African president Frederic Willem de Klerk.
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”
Mandela formed the Elders, an independent group of global leaders in 2007 who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major human suffering causes and promote the shared interests of humanity. He died in 2013.
About Nelson Mandela International Day
On 18 July, 2009, the first Mandela Day was launched in New York. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 10 November, 2009 declaring 18 July as "Nelson Mandela International Day". This day marks the contribution to peace through his active involvement in resolving conflicts, promoting human rights, international democracy and reconciliation and in addressing racial issues.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
To honour Nelson Mandela various statues and civic tributes have been made. Like a statue in Mandela’s image at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, South Africa. Even a bridge, known as the Nelson Mandela Bridge is also found in Johannesburg. Postage stamp has also dedicated to Nelson Mandela, as well as various musical tributes in previous times.
How Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated?
Mandela provides service to others and always wants to create a better world for everyone. So, on this day people find injustices in the neighbourhood, city or state and do everything to help alleviate them. Work in soup kitchens, marched with protesters, volunteer in local organisations and work to help bring about civil liberties for everyone. Inspire change, and make every day a celebration of Mandela Day. People work for others and want to improve the life of people around them. They will do this by volunteering or taking part in protests.
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Even the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Obama Foundation also made an official announcement that President Barack Obama will deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture under the theme “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World” in Johannesburg at the Ellis Park Arena on the 17th of July 2018. Also, people often spend this day watching movies, going to art exhibits or attending seminars that highlight the life of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement.
This day provides a global call to action for people to recognise their ability to have a positive effect on others around them. People also inspire others about the values that Mandela shared like democracy, freedom, diversity, reconciliation and respect. To promote Nelson Mandela Day, many people and organizations around the world take part in several activities. These activities are volunteering, sport, art, education, music and culture. This day also celebrates a campaign known as “46664”, in reference to Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison number. The campaign was originally launched to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”
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