The poverty and sadness in South Africa seemed almost overwhelming but in between the broken-heartedness, I saw something else… I saw helpers. So many helpers.
Johannesburg, South Africa – The idea of Mandela Day (67 minutes) was inspired by Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 when he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”
The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s “values and his dedication to the service of humanity” and acknowledging his contribution “to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world”.
The celebration of this day aims to serve as a global call to action for people to “recognise their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better”, says the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“Nelson Mandela has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years, beginning in 1942 when he first started to campaign for the human rights of every South African. His life has been an inspiration to the world,” the foundation said.
By devoting 67 minutes of your time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.
With that, comes the annual 67 minutes but more so, a responsibility to continue his dream of making South Africa & the world… a better place. He embodied all the qualities our country stood for – forgiveness, patience, tolerance, peace and humility – he demonstrated that precious quality of Ubuntu throughout his life.
But as much as yesterday was about the “doing”… I also think it was about the “seeing”.
Seeing something different to our normal; realising that there is more to our existence, finding our sense of community and remembering our Ubuntu.
I spent the day with various organisations doing several things and saw first hand that there are so many people in need.
There are so many South Africans who are hungry, cold, lonely or just waiting for their opportunity to rise. The poverty and sadness in South Africa seemed almost overwhelming.
But in between the broken-heartedness, I saw something else… I saw helpers. So many helpers.
I saw people who took the time to give their time — talking, feeding, being and sharing love and happiness. Some were doing it for just 67 minutes, and some had made a lifelong dedication to helping. It filled my heart with hope and showed me the better side of humanity. I saw the Nelson Mandela legacy alive.
The truth is, our government hasn’t done enough, and they continue to not do enough, so it becomes our responsibility to look after each other. If we want a better neighbourhood… then we’re going to have to look after our neighbours.
Take all the good stuff you were doing yesterday, for those 67 minutes & start doing it every day, or every week, or just now and then. It’s the smallest of changes that have the biggest impact.
21% of South Africans don’t eat everyday… over 50% of our population can’t find work… because there isn’t any.
We need to stay motivated; we need to inspire each other. We’re in this together & the only way we’ll get through this is together… and the only way South Africa will rise, is if we make it happen!
In the words of Tata Madiba… it is in our hands now.