“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
Mandela Day falls on July 18 every year, on the day Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born. It is a day for social justice, reconciliation, and peace. Mandela, fondly called Madiba, was instrumental in ending the Apartheid and became the first black president of South Africa. His courage is legendary, and his goodness is an inspiration to everyone who knows his story.
The Start of a Powerful Tradition
In 2009, the Nelson Mandela Foundation called on the world to support Mandela Day on July 18. The goal was to inspire everyone to do their part to make the world a better place instead of celebrating Madiba’s birthday. Since the Father of the Nation fought for freedom and peace for 67 years, every person in South Africa and the world can spend at least 67 minutes doing something good.
The United Nations officially declared the day in November 2009 and the first UN Mandela Day was celebrated on July 18, 2010. The day’s focal point was to honor Madiba by working in communities and promoting sustainable projects that make a lasting impact. The Nelson Mandela Foundation works with international partners, including the United Nations, the Red Cross and South African Embassies worldwide.
Mandela Day is about fighting inequality everywhere. It is a much-needed initiative in a world where inequality continues to grow, and vulnerable communities need more and more help. The call to action of this special day is inclusive – every person on earth can do something. All it takes is to look around and identify those in need around you and do something for them to make a difference in their lives.
Help Madiba’s Legacy to Live On
The most important part of this day is that as many people as possible take action on Nelson Mandela Day. Whether you observe the 67 minutes of kindness or take on a bigger project, the world will be better if more people do something positive. Here are some ideas you can do on Mandela Day:
Start a garden
Plant and grow produce and fruit trees locally and make this available to vulnerable communities as a food source. You could even start a community planting project where people work together to plant, grow and share.
If everyone shares a meal with one person, even once a week, there will be fewer hungry people worldwide. Make a habit of making an extra sandwich or buying an extra loaf of bread and giving it to somebody who may need it.
Volunteer at the animal shelter
Animals are just as important and at-risk as vulnerable people. Most animal shelters will welcome volunteers. You could walk dogs, pet and cuddle cats and help these poor creatures find homes.
Help somebody to find work
Put a CV together for someone looking for work. Email it to prospective employers or print it out for them. Help them with interview skills and put the word out that they are looking for work.
Volunteer at a hospice
So many people are terminally ill and have nobody to speak to in their final days. Spend time with them. A friendly face and someone to listen to them can make their lives a little easier.
Give the gift of warmth in winter
In South Africa, Mandela day falls in the heart of winter when many vulnerable people are cold. Collect blankets and jackets and distribute them to homeless or poverty-stricken people. If you live in a country where it’s summer in July, it’s a great time to begin collecting for the following winter.
Volunteer at a children’s home
Throw a tea party or do a book reading session at a local children’s home. You could also arrange a puppet show or even bring gentle shelter dogs to interact with the children.
Collect toys, teddy bears, or books for the children and deliver them on one of your visits.
Organize a sandwich or soup day
Get people at your office or in your local neighborhood together to make sandwiches or containers of soup and distribute them to homeless people. Why not sit down and share a meal with them?
Help a senior citizen
Visit a local nursing home and spend time with older people who don’t have family that visit. Offer to help senior citizens who still live at home with fixing things around the house, mowing the lawn, cleaning windows, or doing errands like shopping or picking up medicine.
You could also:
- Learn First Aid
- Donate blood
- Write about social issues
Make Every Day Mandela Day
The focus of Mandela Day 2022 is “Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.” It’s important to know that everyone can make a difference in the world, no matter who or where you are. Why not make it every day? If Madiba can fight against injustice for 67 years, we can do at least one good thing every day.