Johannesburg - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has announced the themes for Nelson Mandela International Day: food security, education and literacy, and shelter – the first time the day will be commemorated since his death in December.
In front of more than 100 donors and partners, Motlanthe renewed the call to serve for 67 minutes on July 18, which was officially recognised as Nelson Mandela Day by the UN General Assembly in 2009.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation emphasised it was the public’s duty to carry on Mandela’s legacy after his death. “Free yourself, free others and serve everybody,” was a torch of public service, now passed on to the next generation, said Njabulo Ndebele, the chairman of the foundation, quoting Mandela.
This coming Mandela Day marks the fifth event and “invites us to celebrate, but in equal measure, demands of us that we stop, take a pause, and reflect and identify the lessons we learnt”, he said.
Speakers included Motlanthe; Ndebele; Sello Hatang, the chief executive officer of the foundation; and Dr Agostinho Zacarias, resident co-ordinator of the UN in South Africa.
Leading up to Mandela Day, the foundation will be facilitating programmes and initiatives according to the announced themes.
With regard to education and literacy, the foundation will support efforts to give books to schools and support the rollout of technology in schools, funded by South African Airways, Nedbank and other businesses.
Volkswagen South Africa will be funding an initiative to convert cargo boxes into mobile libraries for schools.
In terms of food security, the organisations will support efforts to assist children without access to food during school holidays, calling on Tiger Brand and Pick n Pay, among others, to fund the movement.
They had been recruited to supply 6 700 food parcels to these children over the next three years, said Hatang.
With regard to shelter, the foundation would continue to work with Habitat for Humanity to build houses and support community-building.
The foundation would also sponsor a Relay for Mandela event, and an initiative to trade skills between groups.