President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged citizens to dedicate their resources to improving the lives of the less fortunate in honour of Nelson Mandela. Picture: GCIS

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to dedicate their time, energy, and resources to improving the lives of the less fortunate in honour of the country's first democratic statesman and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day in honour of the global icon, celebrated each year on July 18, his birthday.

This year, the day has added significance as it would have been the 100th birthday of Mandela, who died in 2013.

In a pre-recorded message, Ramaphosa said that people across the world would celebrate a man whose extraordinary contribution to the cause of freedom continues to inspire millions in the struggle for peace, justice and equality.

"On this day, let us go out in our millions to make a meaningful and lasting difference in our society. Let us also dedicate our time, energy and whatever resources we have in improving the lives of those in need," Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said this year's Mandela Day should mark the start of a new era of of citizen activism for social change and economic change in line with the "Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World".

African News Agency (ANA)