Cape Town - The Nelson Mandela Foundation has issued it’s a first-ever Mandela Day Guide to help the millions who celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day (known as Mandela Day) on July 18 every year.
Nelson Mandela International Day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009 and is a global call to action celebrating the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.
Chief Executive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang said: “The manual is intended to help people who don’t really know how they to contribute or volunteer during Mandela month, as July has typically become known.
“The Nelson Mandela Foundation felt it would be useful to issue the guide for the first time this year, especially as we have changed the way in which Mandela Day is observed.”
Yase Godlo, Mandela Day Manager at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, added that the guide demonstrates that those who observe Mandela Day do not need to make great changes to fit with the new approach to Mandela Day.
He says they can still knit blankets, but instead of knitting it as a once-off, they will be encouraged to knit blankets year-round for those in need. Those who plant vegetable gardens at schools could still do so on July 18, but are also urged to commit to planting more gardens.
“We want people to commit to longer-term more sustainable efforts, but did not want to make it more difficult or confusing, which is why we have issued the manual,” says Godlo.
Other suggestions included putting together stationery packs for teachers at an under-resourced school, Make sandwiches to give to people living on the street, donate blood, organise a fun outing for children in an HIV/Aids programme, donate books to your local library, teach someone how to use a computer and more.
Hatang stressed that instead of volunteering 67 minutes on 18 July as has become the norm, the Nelson Mandela Foundation – the custodian of Nelson Mandela’s legacy – is calling on South Africans and those around the world to take action throughout the year and not just on Mandela Day.
He says the Foundation has also decided against the usual four themes for Mandela Day in favour of just one: taking action against poverty.
“In line with this strategic shift, we therefore call on South Africans and those around the world to use July 18 to renew their commitment to taking action and to inspire change so that they can make every day a Mandela Day.”
“We call on them to volunteer for projects that will alleviate poverty, whether that be building a house for someone who has never had a home or planting a food garden at a school to feed pupils.” says Hatang.
“The deepening effects of poverty and inequality in our country serve as a deafening call for us to open our hearts in a more meaningful manner. That’s why this July 18 and until Mandela Day 2018, our call is for the global community to take #ActionAgainstPoverty.”