Nelson Mandela, who died in December 2013 at 95, was a historic South African who spent much of his life lobbying for change. On July 18, a global call to action in his honor kicks off for the sixth year. Mandela Day encourages everyone to find a way to make a difference in their world, whether it is through volunteerism, education, providing access to safe food, or helping establish safe shelter and infrastructure.
Mandela Day organizers are asking those who want to make a difference to choose something they can help with for 67 minutes, in honor of the 67 years that Mandela worked for change in his country. Mandela Day also has seen Mandela’s second-oldest grandson, Ndaba Mandela, join in and live by his grandfather’s example. Ndaba Mandela is in his grandfather’s hometown of Qunu, where he is donating linen, curtains, and cartoon wallpaper with a delegation.
On Twitter, people are torn about whether to actually mention they have done some good in their communities.
What's the social media etiquette around good deeds on #MandelaDay? Is it a brag & a No/No, or is it something to shout about?
— Katy Katopodis (@KatyKatopodis) July 17, 2015
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed July 18, 2009 as Nelson Mandela International Day in honor of the work Mandela had undertaken throughout his life to make the world a better place. The Nelson Mandela Foundation spearheaded the creation of Mandela Day with its sister organizations, the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
In 2008, Nelson Mandela implored the next generation to take on leadership when confronting the social injustices in the world. Mandela Day is not, however, an event limited to the country of the late Nelson Mandela; people are encouraged to even begin conversations with their children and ask them how they feel they can help make the world a better place.
Technology can also help you determine where you can direct your 67 minutes July 18, or any day. The organizers behind Mandela Day believe that there is no reason why people cannot make every day Mandela Day. There is a new app out called GEM, or Going the Extra Mile, that can be downloaded from www.gemproject.org for residents in South Africa. The app is designed to allow users to “earn money” for their volunteer efforts; for every GEM that they earn through helping with a range of projects, they could potentially earn airtime, movie tickets, and other bonuses.
There is also forgood, a website where users can find a range of causes they can work with for Mandela Day or if they choose to make volunteerism a lifestyle. Regardless, there is no shortage of worthy causes to get involved in for Mandela Day.
(Photo courtesy of Belimitless.com)