On 18 July 1918, in Mvezo, a village near Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, a baby boy was born. His father, Henry Mgadla Mandela (a chief and chief councillor to the paramount chief of the Thembu and a member of the Madiba clan) and mother, Nonqaphi Nosekeni, named him Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Fast forward 45 years: Nelson Mandela delivered a most influential address in which he explained why he had turned from non-violent protest to armed struggle. His “I am Prepared to Die” statement is considered one of the great speeches of the 20th century and a key moment in the anti-apartheid struggle.

As powerful an orator as he was, Nelson Mandela was also a man of action. If you are still deciding how to honour his birthday this 18 July – what you are going to do for 67 minutes to uplift those who are less fortunate than you – here is a list of suggestions:

Ideas for Nelson Mandela International Day

These suggestions are from the United Nations – who, for the first time ever, designated a day dedicated to a person.

“Make a new friend. Get to know someone from a different cultural background. Only through mutual understanding can we rid our communities of intolerance and xenophobia.

Read to someone who can’t. Visit a local home for the blind and open a new world for someone else.

Help at the local animal shelter. Dogs without homes still need a walk and a bit of love.

Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.

Many terminally ill people have no one to speak to. Take a little time to have a chat and bring some sunshine into their lives.

Get tested for HIV and encourage your partner to do so too.

Take someone you know, who can’t afford it, to get their eyes tested or their teeth checked.

Donate a wheelchair or a guide dog, to someone in need thereof.

Buy a few blankets, or grab the ones you no longer need from your home and give them to someone in need.”

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