Nelson Mandela International Day 2022: Celebrating the Enduring Legacy of Madiba


The impact of Nelson Mandela’s legacy on the world remains one of the most positive associations with South Africa that people think of when discussing prominent figures who had a global impact.  Mandela’s dedication and contribution to the values of peace, equality and freedom continues to intensify and endure, inspiring countless lives in many ways.


On 18 July 2009, on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of adopting an international day in honour of Mandela’s philosophy of life.


This year Brand South Africa, represented by Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele,  joined the annual observance at  the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, in remembrance of the globally revered icon. Dignitaries in attendance included:

  • Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly,
  • Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,
  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, and Megan Markle,
  • The United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize to the 2020 Laureates, His Excellency Dr. Morissanda Kouyaté, also Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea and Marianna Vardinoyannis of Greece,
  • Ambassador Maria Theofili of Greece,
  • Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City, among other esteemed representatives of United Nations Member States.


The theme for this year’s Mandela Day, as announced by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, was ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are’ with a specific focus on food security and climate change.


Delivering the keynote address, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, highlighted the importance of celebrating Nelson Mandela’s legacy every day so that young people who are important change agents for society can be inspired. He also urged world leaders alike to draw inspiration from Mandela’s leadership approach to tackle the challenges that the world is facing.


“This is a pivotal moment; a moment where all ordinary people around the world are experiencing pain and, in this moment, we have a choice to make. We can grow apathetic, succumb to anger, or yield to despair. Or we can do what Mandela did; every single day inside that nine by seven prison cell on Robben Island. We can find meaning and purpose in the struggle.”


Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General echoed Prince Harry’s sentiment that Mandela’s approach to life’s great challenges is one that continues to be relevant today. On behalf of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, “Today, the world honours a giant of our time; a leader of unparalleled courage and towering achievement; and a man of quiet dignity and deep humanity. Nelson Mandela was a healer of communities and a mentor to generations. He remains a moral compass and reference to us all. Madiba walked the path to freedom and dignity with steely determination – and with compassion and love. He showed that each and every one of us has the ability – and responsibility – to build a better future for all”.


In his address, Minister Gungubele said “The lifelong work of Nelson Mandela in service of just causes for the benefit of humanity, is a testament that everyone can play their role for the greater good with what they have in their respective societies and communities. Nelson Mandela dedicated 67 years of the best years of his life to the service of others albeit in very difficult conditions, including 27 years of imprisonment. The unprecedented global challenges currently confronting humanity and the planet we share, require that the international community acts in harmony through solidarity and common purpose”.


As the world goes through tumultuous times of war, pandemics, and climate change, it is admirable to see, that to this day, Nelson Mandela’s legacy continues to be a reason that inspires the world.


About Brand South Africa


Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.