“The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.” – Nelson Mandela
Every year, the world celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day on the 18th of July. In the year 1918, on the same day, the revolutionary statesman Nelson Mandela was born in South Africa. Since 2009, this day is being celebrated every year to mark his achievements and efforts towards humanity and societal development. The Nelson Mandela International Day 2021 is a call to action for people across the globe to take responsibility for making the world a better place. Mandela had contributed to the culture of peace, human rights, reconciliation, education, and freedom. Nelson Mandela had many accolades as he was a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, and an international peacemaker. He fought against the Apartheid rule and became an iconic figure that triumphed over South Africa’s apartheid regime. Read more about this legend and Mandela Day which encourages people to follow the footsteps of Nelson Mandela to make a difference towards a more peaceful and equal society.
History Behind the Nelson Mandela International Day 2021
Nelson Mandela International Day is also known as Mandela Day and observed internationally on July 18 in honor of the revolutionary Nelson Mandela. In November 2009, the United Nations (UN) officially set the date for this day. Its first observance was held on July 18, 2010. Nelson Mandela International Day marks the celebration of the personality whose monumental achievements changed the 20th century and shaped the 21st. In 2014, the UN General Assembly established a prize in honor of Nelson Mandela. This prize is awarded to those who went far and beyond to serve humanity.
Theme of Nelson Mandela International Day 2021
“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest”. -Nelson Mandela
This year Nelson Mandela International Day 2021 focuses on two critical intersecting challenges being faced by South Africa and many other countries. These challenges are food insecurity and cultures of lawlessness. With these two challenges, the situation of Covid-19 has deepened patterns of poverty and inequality. The situation of hunger across the countries is growing rapidly and social cohesion is under severe strain. The diminishing respect for ‘the rule of law’ is evident everywhere. So, this year, with the theme of one hand can feed another Nelson Mandela International Day is being celebrated.
About Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela whose childhood name was Rolihlahla Mandela born in the Madiba clan in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa on 18 July 1918. He was a South African anti-apartheid activist, a statesman, and a philanthropist. He went to the University College of Fort Hare for his B. A. Degree. However, because of a protest of students against him, he got expelled and could not be able to complete his degree. Then, he went back to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni where he got threatened by the king that if he would not complete his degree, the king will arrange a marriage for him. So, he ran to Johannesburg, where he worked as a mine security officer. Later, he completed his studies and received a degree in B.A. from the University of South Africa. In his childhood, he had listened to the stories about the valor of the ancestors who struggled for freedom. Around 1944, he joined the African National Congress party and joined several peaceful protests against the white minority’s regime in South Africa.
Mandela was also sent to jail for leading the liberation movement against apartheid and he was the only prisoner who was referred by his cell number-46664. Mandela left prison after 27 years. Later, he became the country’s first black head of state and the first elected person in a fully representative democratic election. His efforts and dedication to get the rights and justice for the South Africans’ community made him the president of the country and he served from 1994 to 1999 for the same post. For almost 67 years, he fought for social justice and this made him one of the greats in the history of not even South Africa but the world.
Why Nelson Mandela International Day 2021 is Important?
Nelson Mandela, after his death, still remains as a symbol of power by resisting oppression. His work showed the way for all of us to love and live with humanity. His strength and struggles showed impossible courage against all odds. His commendable journey from where he rose from a prisoner to being the president is ground-breaking. He provides unlimited help to others. He was inspired by the work of Mahatma Gandhi. Mandela’s values and determination, a deep commitment to human rights, freedom, and justice are similar to Gandhi’s ideologies.
Nelson Mandela advocated for the rightful dignity and equality of every living person. His encouraging engagement and solidarity across all borders inspire other people to walk on his footprints. Mandela also promoted education for all and considered it a powerful tool to bring change to society.
What is Nelson Mandela Foundation?
Mandela started a Non-Government Organization (NGO) called Nelson Mandela Foundation in 1999 after he completed his services as a President. The NGO focuses on improving the status of the poor and brings equality by providing things like rural development, school construction, etc, and by starting a program for HIV/AIDS patients, etc. He fought non-stop for the people of South Africa to tackle the issues of malnutrition, poor education, and unemployment.
Following are the founding principles of the Nelson Mandela Foundation-
- The first principle is to create, establish, protect and preserve Centre of Memory about Mr Mandela. The Centre of Memory contains an archive of Mandela’s life-time works, and writings.
- In order to contribute to a society, the second principle is to convening dialogue around critical social issues, including issues regarding human rights and democracy.
- The third principle is of promotion of, or engaging in philosophical activities, including discussion regarding issues pertaining to human rights and democracy.
- The fourth principle is to raise funds in furtherance of the Trust’s objectives.
- The fifth principle is provision of support services to, or the promotion of the common interests of, public benefit organizations.
How do We Celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day 2021?
Nelson Mandela once said, ‘It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.’ With the motive to build and make peace, Nelson Mandela Foundation has started a movement to help those who are suffering from poverty. Amid the situation of pandemic, the poverty ratio has increased across the globe and there are many people who really need food security. Champions of Mandela Day and members of the Nelson Mandela Day Global Network have been following the call to take action, inspire change, making every day a Mandela Day for the past 12 years.
Nelson Mandela Foundation has started a legacy by taking #ActionAgainstPoverty and launched a programme called Each1Feed1 in 2020 to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable communities. This year, where the world is suffering from a critical situation due to Covid, the fight against poverty continues. To celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day, you can support the Each1Feed1 campaign by visiting the official website of the NGO i.e. nelsonmandela.org/each1-feed1.