Nelson Mandela spent 67 years of his life fighting for social justice and freedom for all people, first starting to campaign for human rights in 1942. His selfless leadership inspired other leaders and citizens to work together in an effort to make the world a more equal and just place.
In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly designated July 18 as “Nelson Mandela International Day” in honor of the former South African President to recognize his contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
Mandela Day, which is celebrated annually on Madiba’s birthday July 18, is a global call to action that reminds us of our individual power to impact change. The campaign, run by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, calls on each of us to give one minute of our time for every year that Mandela dedicated to championing human rights and freedom — so 67 minutes during the course of the day.
According to Mandela: “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return.”
At the Nelson Mandela inaugural lecture at Makerere University in 2017, attended by his granddaughter Zoleka Mandela, His Excellency President Museveni paid tribute to Mandela and called on those present especially the young to honour and carry on his legacy:
“Madiba gave the entirety of his life to achieve two strategic goals: Independence and Democratization. He has no debt with Africa. He contributed to the achievement of emancipation, democracy and some steps toward economic integration in the form of SADC. I am sure he would have done more if he had had more time. It is you and me to do what Mwalimu Nyerere, Mandela, Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Modibo Keita, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Thambo, Patrice Lumumba, IK Musaazi, etc., did not do to ensure Africa from the threats similar to the ones we have just gone through or worse. I always say that when you do God’s work, He does yours”.
His Excellency President Yoweri K. Museveni at Nelson Mandela Inaugural Lecture. Makerere University. August 31st 2017
There are many ways to use Mandela Day to help empower others and to continue Nelson Mandela’s Legacy of Social Justice. The Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre (JNLC) plans to celebrate this Mandela day by developing projects to be implemented beginning on Julius Nyerere Day, October 8th 2021 around:
- Providing health packages to vulnerable expectant mothers at low income health facility
- Helping to improve the quality of education in schools
- Helping keep a girl in school