Mandela’s legacy lives on in each of us


Education. Literacy. Food security. Shelter. The environment. These are the areas the Nelson Mandela Foundation asks the people of the world to focus on as they give 67 minutes of their time to improve the lives of others on 18 July, Mandela Day.

Mandela Day article Nelson Mandela has left us all a positive legacy: to improve the world. (Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation)

Nelson Mandela’s advocacy of peace, human rights and reconciliation permeates throughout the world. His ideals live on in the good deeds of ordinary people across the planet.

As Mandela said: “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” This advice has left a lasting impact. His memory, his work, and his beliefs live on in the hearts and minds of South Africans and the global community, in people playing their part to improve the state of the world.

In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly officially declared 18 July, Mandela’s birthday, as Nelson Mandela International Day. The purpose of the declaration was to “honour the long history of Mandela’s leading role in the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa”.

Mandela strove to build a better society. The resolution recognised his “values and dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities”, according to the UN website.

Mandela Day acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said international the theme behind the day was “Take Action, Inspire Change”, which highlighted the importance of working together to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world.

In South Africa, July is also known has Mandela Month. Areas flagged for improvement are education and literacy, food security, shelter and infrastrcuture, and the environment.

67, the charmed number

The Nelson Mandela Foundation encourages the power of one person to make a change. “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 organisation has encouraged people to give 67 minutes of their own time to do something good and to make a positive contribution to humankind.

“South Africa’s democratic vision is about making it possible to give our youth a fighting chance – that is, the opportunity to try,” said the chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang. “Education is still the foundation of this opportunity. The most basic building block that holds that foundation together is still literacy.”

With every small act of kindness completed, Mandela’s legacy can only continue to thrive and improve the world in every small, or big way, possible.

See the Nelson Mandela Foundation website or the Mandela Day website for more information.