On July 18, we celebrate the 95th Birthday of Former South African President Nelson Mandela. We also honor his legacy. Since 2009, Mandela’s birthday has been marked as an international day of service. Headed by the Mandela Foundation and the United Nations, the day is observed around the world with thousands of activities, including neighborhood clean-ups and visits with an elder.
Mandela’s 67 years of human rights work and leadership are honored through the 67 minutes a person takes to look beyond themselves and help others, and this attitude can extend beyond one official day. Here are some of the ways people are changing their community and making everyday Mandela Day:
1. READ TO A YOUNG PERSON
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”- Nelson Mandela
Whether it is at a local library or with a younger sibling, reading a book is a great way to share Mandela’s passion for education. Visit your local library or school for information on volunteering opportunities.
2. CLEAN UP YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation” – Nelson Mandela
The foundation of Mandela’s 67 year legacy is an ownership of his country’s future. By taking some time to clean a part of your neighborhood, you can take ownership of your community. Volunteer at a local park or begin with picking up trash along your street. A little goes a long way.
3. LEARN A STORY FROM AN ELDER
“There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”- Nelson Mandela
After spending 27 years in prison on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Though many of his supporters and other members of the anti-apartheid movement were still holding onto their anger, Mandela encouraged the practice of peace. His life and the advocacy efforts have inspired a number of leaders that followed him, including President Obama. By spending 67 minutes with an elder, you may also learn of an inspiring story —one you could share to encourage others.
4. HELP FEED SOMEONE LESS FORTUNATE
“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones” -Nelson Mandela
Opportunities to share a meal with a person in need is another way to celebrate Mandela. Find a local soup kitchen or food pantry in your community.
5. WATCH A MANDELA FILM
From “Invictus” to the academy award-nominated film “Mandela,” Nelson Mandela’s story has come to the big screen quite a few times within the last 20 years alone. Today, his words will be streamed on the screens throughout Times Square at 7:15pm. The film, titled “The Power of Words,” is a unique look at Mandela’s legacy through his words.