UN declares Mandela Day international event

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pretoria - The decision of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to declare 18 July Nelson Mandela International Day has been welcomed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The resolution was unanimously adopted on Tuesday, with the support of all UN Member States and co-sponsorship of over 165 members, from all regions of the world.

The foundation said this represented the overwhelming support of the entire international community in honouring Madiba and it hoped this would signal the beginning of greater involvement by the global community in this movement for good.

Mandela Day is an annual international day of humanitarian action in celebration of Madiba's life and legacy. It serves as a catalyst for each and every person around the world to realise that they have the ability to change it through action.

"It is not about creating institutions with huge infrastructure, but a global movement for good which recognises that positive change begins with small actions. These actions can range from a vision for creating peace and reconciliation; to sharing food with a neighbour in need," explained the foundation in its statement.

Mandela Day is particularly geared towards people doing work in their communities and not event driven. It is not a one-day event or a holiday.

Nelson Mandela spent 67 years of his life actively devoted to promoting and bringing about social change.

On Mandela Day, people are asked to symbolically give at least 67 minutes of their time in service to their communities in whichever way they choose.

"We would like to express our gratitude to the South African government for its efforts in making this possible. We urge people to ensure that they observe Mandela Day everyday - contributing to the global movement for good - and not only on the 18th of July.

"As Mandela reminded the nation, "it's in our hands" to create a better world. We take inspiration from his example to take responsibility for ourselves and to understand our responsibility to others."