‘Let’s up the ante for Mandela Day’

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IOL pic mar20 nelson mandela file Reuters Nelson Mandela File picture: Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - The 2014 Nelson Mandela International Day would be a unique one as it was the first since former president Nelson Mandela's passing, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Tuesday.

“This is all the more reason we have to up the ante, ensuring that this day is imbued with durable meaning that reverberates across time and space,” said Motlanthe.

“Indeed, with Nelson Mandela having fought for social justice for 67 years it is not much contributing 67 minutes of our time to a good cause. This would seem an appropriate way to honour the legacy of this icon of our times.”

In a speech prepared for delivery at the launch of the day at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, Motlanthe said the campaign this year would focus on three themes - literacy, shelter and food security.

“We know that the most vulnerable are those who are going hungry, who have no proper roof over their heads, who cannot read or write,” Motlanthe said.

“On this day, we remember the challenges to eradicate poverty, to promote peace and reconciliation in the world and to live together as brothers and sisters, no matter what worldly affiliations seem to divide us.”

The campaign, celebrated on July 18 every year, being Mandela's birthday, was entering its fifth year.

The deputy president said the day was a reminder of public service obligations, a capacity to secure cross-sectoral co-operation, and a way to address challenges such as alienation which faced both South Africa and the world.

The day also promoted a broader ethic of service and an opportunity for people to work together to confronting social ills.

Motlanthe said that the campaign was distinctive, as it did not prescribe a way to celebrate the day.

“The founding rationale of the campaign is that it should open Madiba's legacy to interpretation by people all around the world in their own contexts, and that it should open the legacy to application in widely differing contexts.”

He urged individuals and institutions across the world to use any resources at their disposal to do whatever was applicable in addressing the needs of their communities.

“In 2014, let us all support the Nelson Mandela International Day campaign mindful of both the global contexts and the contexts of our own communities,” said Motlanthe.

Mandela died in Johannesburg on December 5 aged 95. - Sapa



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