Nelson Mandela Day – 18 July


Nelson Mandela Day is observed worldwide on the 18th July – that’s this coming Saturday. This is the day when the Nelson Mandela Foundation, together with the United Nations, asks people around the world to devote 67 minutes (Nelson Mandela spent 67 years devoted to the struggle) of their time to community service. The 18th July was Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

There are many ways you can get involved. Here are a few ideas.

Find a local home, school or orphanage and ask them what they want. They may need help in planting a garden, they may want you to paint a few walls, play with the children or if you have the skills, run some kind of workshop. You can take the initiative, contact them in advance and suggest a few things that you could do.

Make 67 sandwiches or cupcakes or bowls of soup and hand them out to the needy. Knit a blanket or two (67 may be tricky) and take them to a worthwhile organisation. Ask your local library if they would like you to come read to the kids for 67 minutes. Donate some books at the same time.

Visit an elderly neighbor. This is such a nice thing to do. 67 minutes of your time will give somebody lonely such pleasure and it may lead to more regular visits. Take a flask of tea with you, some delicous home made cake and go and have fun!

Clean litter. Your park or even just the roads in your neighborhood may need a spruce up. Take a few garbage bags, a few friends or kids, and pick up the rubbish. There is also an organised litter clean up in Heidelberg and you can contact them in advance on 079 355 3666 for details.

One of the organised projects is a soup kitchen in Diepsloot. The Gift of Joy is wanting to feed 1000 children on this day. You can contact Nicky at 073 750 7992 if you would like to be a part of this initiative.

A wonderful idea is to spend time at a hospital, perhaps the children’s ward. Go and read to, play with or entertain the kids. Dress in something bright and colourful and make the patients feel good for a while. Let the hospital know that you are coming first and make it a Government hospital, not a private one!

Mandela said at the time of the campaign’s launch that he would be honoured if such a day could bring people together around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation. Get involved. Do something. You’ll feel fantastic afterwards.

Your Johannesburg Guesthouse can give you ideas of what needs done in their suburb or close by. Otherwise visit the Mandela Day website for organised activities.