SA Amb. to Holy See on celebrating Nelson Mandela Day

Sir Richard Branson helped establish a group of international statesmen known as The Elders a decade ago

Sir Richard Branson helped establish a group of international statesmen known as The Elders a decade ago

In 2009, on former president Nelson Mandela's birthday, the United Nations declared July 18 to be Nelson Mandela International Day.

Every year, on July 18, people around the globe do their bit in support of Mandela Day to make the world a better place. After voluntarily stepping down as President of South Africa in April 1999, Mandela became the chief mediator of the civil war in Burundi after the death of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.

Many organisations and people take part in many activities to promote Nelson Mandela Day and his ideologies.

The 67 minutes symbolize the 67 years that Mandela spent fighting for social justice to make the world a better place.

Mama Nondumiso Mpitimpiti, who started a safe haven in 2007 and cares for 104 pre-schoolers, as well as five foster homes, is opening her Clover Mama Africa tea garden at the Amalinda Forest this morning in celebration of Mandela Day.

"We have to accept that he can not be replaced in person today but his legacy of selfless and principled dedication to equality and justice lives on".

"We want South Africans and people around the world to commit to long-term, sustainable projects that will tackle poverty, " he adds.

Since the United Nations declared Nelson Mandela's 18 July birthday as Nelson Mandela International Day in 2009, the day of action for change has focused on four "pillars" - education and literacy, food security, shelter, and volunteering.

The Elders invite all viewers and supporters to join the Walk Together campaign to continue Nelson Mandela's walk to freedom and tackle faultlines of division.

To celebrate Mandela's 99th birth anniversary, here are 10 of his inspirational quotes about education, leadership and failure. "We can not emphasise enough the importance of both professionalism and respect for human rights".

Mandela's fray was for an inclusive and pluralistic South African society.

In a world where leaders rarely stray from an accepted uniform, no matter where they live in dark suit, white or blue shirt, blue tie Mandela stood out in his colourful batik shirts.

He also speaks of Mandela's personality describing him as a very disciplined person who never cow-towed to anybody: "he got up very early, he meditated, he exercised and he wrote and he did hard labor in the quarries of Robben Island".

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