City Property employees packing food for Mandela Day.Picture: Bongani Shilulbane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Mandela Day will be celebrated globally on Wednesday as part of the centenary commemoration of the former statesman's birth. In South Africa, thousands are expected to put shoulder to the wheel and give 67 minutes of their time to community service.

Several events are set to be held across the country with the President, other politicians, celebrities, sports personalities, public servants and ordinary South Africans volunteering time to do good.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to visit Nelson Mandela's birthplace, Mvezo, where he will hand over three fully furnished houses and groceries to the destitute.

The Eastern Cape government said a clinic in Mvezo, named after Madiba's late mother, Nosekeni Nongathi Mandela would be launched. A machine to produce sanitary pads is also expected to be put in production.

Some 100 families from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape would are expected see their homes built in a joint initiative by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the Department of Human Settlements.

In Cape Town, sports personalities are expected roll up their sleeve and test their construction skills when they help to build these homes.

A statement from sports marketing agency, Optimize Agency, on Tuesday said members of DHL Western Province Rugby, Cape Town City football club and the Cape Cobras cricket team will assist in the building of homes in Mfuleni.

"The three Western Cape sports brands will be in Bardale, Mfuleni, 30km from Cape Town on Mandela Day, where they will be assisting the Habitat for Humanity SA volunteers and Sbu-Leno Construction with constructing external and internal walls, mixing cement, moving blocks and interacting with the community," the statement said. 

National, provincial and local government politicians and officials would be participating in events - from painting schools, planting trees, donating wheelchairs to the disabled to building basic infrastructure. 

South Africa has also activated embassies abroad to participate in the Mandela Day centenary.

In Beijing, the China office in collaboration with the SA embassy there will host an event at a Chinese school for the disadvantaged. 

In the UK, "life size ‘prison cell’ where Mandela spent most of his life in Robben Island will be erected in the National Mall outside the British Council offices so that passers’ by can have a ‘feel’ of what Mandela lived in whilst in Robben Island", government has said. 

In November 2009, the United Nation’s General Assembly declared 18 July the Nelson Mandela International Day. This recognised Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in conflict resolution, race relations, promotion and protection of human rights. People around the world are encouraged to volunteer 67 minutes of their time to a worthy cause.

African News Agency (ANA)