Foundation calls for establishment of Mandela Day

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Johannesburg - The Nelson Mandela Foundation and 46664 campaign is calling on people from around the world to support the establishment of an official Mandela Day, to be held annually on 18 July.

Mandela Day would not only be used to celebrate former President Nelson Mandela's birthday which falls on that day, but it would serve as a global call for people to recognise their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better.

The annual celebration would inspire people from every corner of the earth to embrace Nelson Mandela's values as they seek to improve their lives through service to their communities.

Tim Massey, International Director of 46664, the campaign that bears Mr Mandela's Robben Island prison number, said Mandela Day was about creating a movement for positive change and establishing one day to reflect upon, celebrate and make manifest the values that guide Nelson Mandela.

"The 46664 will also be working with partner organisations, other city authorities and community associations and volunteers across the globe to create a worldwide series of Mandela Day events to honour Nelson Mandela's life and legacy," he said.

People around the world would be requested to commit 67 minutes of their time to make an imprint and help change the world around them.

The first democratically elected President of South Africa 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.

According to the foundation, Mr Mandela's life has been an inspiration to the world. To date, the foundation and 46664 campaign have focused mainly on supporting projects in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa where current needs are greatest, particularly for those infected or affected by HIV and AIDS.

"We would be honoured if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation,' according to a statement issued on Mr Mandela's behalf.

Major international events are planned around Mr Mandela's birthday each year, such as concerts, exhibitions and speeches.

This year, a series of special events will take place in New York involving many of the charity's global ambassadors from the worlds of entertainment, music and film.

The 46664 and the Nelson Mandela Foundation together with the New York City Department of Education will also host a group of middle and high school students in South Africa in June.

The students are expected to visit the offices of Mr Mandela to see the work of the foundation as well as to meet South African students in order to develop a student charter that applies Mr Mandela's ideals to their day-to-day lives and local communities.

All money raised from Mandela Day will support the ongoing work of 46664 and the Nelson Mandela charitable organisations.