The first Mandela Day was launched in New York on July 18, 2009, but the UN’s resolution to declare the day occurred later that year.
On November 10, 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring July 18 as “Nelson Mandela International Day”.
The day marks Nelson Mandela’s contribution to peace through his active involvement in resolving conflicts, promoting human rights, international democracy and reconciliation, and in addressing racial issues.
Nelson Mandela Day not only celebrates Nelson Mandela’s life, but it is also a global call to action for people to recognize their ability to have a positive effect on others around them.
The day hopes to inspire people to embrace the values that Mandela shared. These values include democracy, freedom, equality, diversity, reconciliation, and respect.
Many people and organizations around the world take part in many activities to promote Nelson Mandela Day. These activities include volunteering, sport, art, education, music and culture.
Various events are also held on or around July 18 to honor Nelson Mandela’s works and to promote the different projects that were inspired by Mandela’s achievements.
Mandela Day also celebrates a campaign known as “46664”, in reference to Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison number. The campaign was originally launched to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. However, its focus expanded to broader humanitarian work. The efforts from Mandela Day support the campaign’s ongoing work and other Nelson Mandela charitable organizations.
Nelson Mandela saw himself first and foremost as a servant of South Africa’s people, to whom he felt he owed a duty, and who he led by example.
The genesis of our mandate as the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and our work, stems from Mandela’s passing on the torch of public service to everyone. “It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all,” he said.
Positive change was the gift left to all of us by Nelson Mandela, but it can only become a living legacy if we take up his challenge.
In the spirit of Madiba and his vision to spread social justice and freedom for all, this is your chance to become part of a continuous global movement for good.
Let us all emulate the servant leader we loved by becoming servant leaders ourselves – Madiba change-makers.
By becoming someone who makes every day a Mandela Day by taking action against poverty, you can show others that actions speak louder than words.
A global movement for positive change begins with small actions. As each person acts, they fuel momentum toward positive change, raising awareness and expanding the reach of Mr. Mandela’s values – fighting injustice, helping people in need and practicing reconciliation.
Nelson Mandela Day Goals
- Education and Literacy
- Food and Nutrition
- Active Citizenship
Nelson Mandela’s calls for social cohesion and an end to racism are particularly relevant today, with hate speech casting a growing shadow around the world. As we work collectively for peace, stability, sustainable development and human rights for all, we would be well served to recall the example set by Nelson Mandela.
Our best tribute is found in actions. Nelson Mandela’s message to the world is clear. Every one of us can step up and act for enduring change. We all have the duty to do so. On this day of reflection on Nelson Mandela’s life and work, let us embrace his legacy and aspire to emulate his example.