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.”