Guide: what you can do on Mandela Day


The Nelson Mandela Foundation encourages people to carry out their volunteer work for the long term, starting on Mandela Day.

Nelson Mandela Guide
“The Nelson Mandela Foundation felt it would be useful to issue the guide for the first time this year, especially as we have changed the way in which Mandela Day is observed,” says Ffoundation CEO Sello Hatang. (Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation, Facebook)

Brand South Africa reporter

In time for Nelson Mandela International Day (known as Mandela Day) on 18 July, which has become synonymous with charitable work, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has compiled a handy guide if you are wondering what you can do with your time.

The emphasis, though, is not to limit your contribution to 67 minutes but rather to make charitable work a regular occurrence. That way, there will be a long-term positive effect on those who are being helped.

“The manual is intended to help people who don’t really know how they to contribute or volunteer during Mandela Month, as July has typically become known,” said Sello Hatang, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“The Nelson Mandela Foundation felt it would be useful to issue the guide for the first time this year, especially as we have changed the way in which Mandela Day is observed.”

Hatang said that instead of volunteering 67 minutes on 18 July as had become the norm, the foundation was calling on South Africans and those around the world to take action throughout the year.

The foundation was grateful to everyone who had given 67 minutes of their time on the day in the past, but, “it became increasingly troubling for us as the Nelson Mandela Foundation that the Mandela Day campaign serves as a momentary relief for recipients”.

The day — 18 July — should be the start of taking action, he said, not the end. “We want South Africans and those around the world to commit to long-term, regular projects that will tackle poverty.”


Here’s the list of suggestions, outlining practical things to do, from the foundation:

  1. Make stationery packs (pens, stickers, coloured paper, scissors, etc.) for teachers at an under-resourced school;
  2. Sort donated clothes at U-turn or The Warehouse, but call before time to organise, the foundation advises;
  3. Volunteer your time at a Haven Night Shelter;
  4. Find your nearest fixed donor site and give blood;
  5. Offer to fix things at a local school or organisation;
  6. Help to build a home with Habitat for Humanity’s International Mandela Day Build Week;
  7. Donate educational materials to Breadline Africa;
  8. Organise a fun outing for children in an HIV/Aids programme;
  9. Make “care kits”, including items such as a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, face cloth, and so on, for patients at a government hospital;
  10. Throw a tea party for the children and carers at a children’s home;
  11. Offer to mow the lawn and fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice;
  12. Hold a teddy bear or book drive for a children’s home;
  13. Teach someone how to use a computer and the internet;
  14. Tutor someone who needs help learning your mother tongue;
  15. Donate your old computer to an under-resourced school;
  16. Tutor pupils from under-resourced schools;
  17. Donate books to your local library; and,
  18. Offer to attend a high school class to talk to students about your career.

About the day

The United Nations officially declared 18 July, the day of Mandela’s birth, as Nelson Mandela International Day. It is a “global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact”.

Source: The Nelson Mandela Foundation

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