Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

In celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, Mandela Day takes place on 18 July every year and aims to encourage all of us to take action - big or small - to change the world for the better. Read more about Mandela Day and how you can get involved.

What is Mandela Day?

In 2009 the member states of the United Nations passed a resolution adopting Mandela Day as an international commemorative day, similar to World AIDS Day and International Women’s Day. It takes place every year on 18 July – Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

In celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, the aim of Mandela Day is to encourage all of us to take action – big or small – to change the world for the better. By taking part in Mandela Day, individuals and communities can become part of a global movement for good.

How do I take part in Mandela Day?

Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life in pursuit of freedom and equality. He has charged us with making this vision a reality. “It is time for the next generations to continue our struggle against social injustice and for the rights of humanity,” he says. “It is in your hands.

We all have a responsibility to protect hard-won freedoms and stand up for the rights of those around us who are disadvantaged or oppressed. On Mandela Day, take the opportunity to fulfil Mandela’s wish and dedicate 67 minutes in the spirit of service to your fellow human beings.

Whether you start a community garden, raise money for a local charity or simply make the effort to get to know your neighbours, Mandela Day is a chance to roll your sleeves up and get involved in making the world a better place.

Where can I find out more about Mandela Day?

What kinds of activities are being planned?

In South Africa, Bikers for Mandela Day have made Mandela Day an annual tradition. This year 26 riders are heading out on a 2,200 kilometre journey from Johannesburg to Pretoria, spreading the message of Mandela Day throughout South Africa and stopping at community projects en route to lend their support.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, staff will be volunteering at a park improvement project. The UN is also holding volunteer events around the world, an interactive exhibit inviting individuals to pledge 67 minutes of public service, and a conference giving students the opportunity to learn about Mandela’s leadership example.

South African Airways has branded its entire fleet of aircraft with the Mandela Day message and will mark the special day with activities aimed at making a difference to children’s lives.

Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, is encouraging people to dedicate 67 minutes to Mandela Day - whether by fundraising for charity, planting a vegetable garden or sharing their skills at the Branson Centre.

Reporters and other staff at SABC News in South Africa are giving their support to disabled people, helping out at children’s care centres, schools and hospitals throughout Johannesburg and other provinces.

Lalela Project, a non-profit organisation that empowers youth through the arts, is promoting tolerance and understanding between Cape Coloured and Xhosa communities through photography.

Mandela Day is already a big day in South Africa - help us to take it global!

Where can I tell people what I’m doing for Mandela Day?

Use The Elders’ Facebook page to tell us about your Mandela Day activities. Share your ideas and actions - we want to hear from you!

If you are on Twitter, look for #MandelaDay tweets for inspiration and use the hashtag to tell us what you plan to do on 18 July.

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