Former President Nelson Mandela remains one of the most enduring symbols of South Africa, but it seems as though his 67 minutes idea has been lost in translation.
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.
We have received several press releases and requests from corporates to share information about what they are doing for 67 minutes and to be blatantly honest… it is as though the message of hope and change and goodness has been lost in translation.
The majority of corporates are looking for a fleeting moment of brandability where painting the same wall as last year, under a branded gazebo, while taking photos to upload to social media becomes the most important factor of the day.
And even though the act of sharing these moments will inspire others and should be celebrated, they should not be the defining aspect of your 67 minutes!
Shera Deavall, a contributor at Good Things Guy said it best, “This year take the time to go deeper. Go out to feel and share love on Nelson Mandela day, but if you come home with only smiling photos and a team building t-shirt, know that you have failed yourself and your country.
Come home rather with a new perspective, a plan of where next you can help and a heart filled with hope to grow South Africa into the land of love we all long for.”
I think all South Africans need to be asking themselves: How do we really honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy? Are we doing something that will make a difference for more than 67 minutes, for more than just one day? Are we creating a better South Africa every day?
My advice to all is to instead of focusing on just 67 minutes, rather create a 67 lifestyle and get involved in a well-grounded project that assists the MOST needy causes in South Africa. Find something that you can get involved in that actually makes a sustainable difference. Make it a project that starts on Mandela Day but carries on throughout the year.
The message behind Mandela Day is loud and clear. Everyone has the responsibility and the ability to change the world for the better, but it is also our responsibility to be doing more to create sustainable positive change.
He may not be around any more, but his presence in South Africa is certainly felt, within each and every one of us.
It is in our hands now.