Nelson Mandela day is celebrated on the 18th of July to shine a light on the legacy of a man who changed the 20th century and help shape the 21st.

This is the moment for everyone to renew the values that inspired Nelson Mandela and his 67 years of service to public. To quote Madiba, as Nelson was fondly known,

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

When we were discussing Nelson Mandela Day, in our committee, I volunteered  to write this blog because he made a great impact as a leader upon the world and on me personally. He was admired and respected around the world and he had very strong ties with India. India stood by him and supported the ANC when it was neither fashionable nor easy to do so. Madiba called Gandhi the greatest political leader, his guru and role model. His work on Apartheid closely parallels the freedom movement of Gandhi in a world that has constantly engaged itself into more violence. Both Gandhi and Mandela opted for the path of non-violent political strategies.

The idea of Nelson Mandela Day

The idea of Nelson Mandela Day is that everyone has the ability to make an impact and do something in their own way to change the world and the world of those around them. It’s not about big changes but it’s about making a contribution towards changing someone’s life and thereby creating a positive impact in the world. I was recently asked why do I spend so much time doing work with the ED and I committee and why do I want to constantly volunteer for race and ethnicity programmes/groups. My response is: If he could give 67 years of his life, I can give 67 minutes of my time, once a week, to make a change, even if it is in a small way. I am trying to make the world a better place for my children and future generations, where they know there is a world without discrimination and a kinder place to live. Nelson Mandela day remembers his achievements in working towards conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation.

So let’s call upon ourselves, our families, our colleagues to devote, at least 67 minutes, of our time to positively impact our communities and other peoples lives with the belief that people have the power to transform each other’s lives for the better. Do something small, one day it will lead to a very big change.

For those who want to know more here are some links.

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