On the 18th of July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday is celebrated globally as Nelson Mandela International Day. For many South Africans, the day means giving back 67 minutes of their time to a charitable cause, in honour of Mandela’s legacy and lifelong contribution to building a democratic South Africa. The day encourages the philosophy of Ubuntu which values humanity, social unity and generosity towards others.
We spoke to a few students from the University of Johannesburg to hear what this day means to them and how they spent their 67 minutes.
Lihle, 19, first-year Politics student:
It’s a humbling experience for me to be part of Utata Mandela’s day, I spent this day helping out at my community centre cooking for the homeless. This day meant caring and loving each other as South Africans.
Thandeka, 24, third year Education student:
I believe this day brings us together everywhere in the world; it also brings peace and joy to our hearts as we thank and remember Mandela for all he has done for us. I used my 67 minutes to teach and read to children at a nearby library and helped them with their homework.
Phillip, 22, second year Accounting student:
Mandela day should be every day, but I’m glad that there’s a day like this that brings us together as South Africans to honour the struggle fought by our past leaders and Mandela himself.
Teboho, 22, honours year Marketing student:
Mandela Day is an important day for all; this day teaches us to forgive and move forward together as a nation. We should always try to see the good in others and help each other grow. I donated all the clothes I do not wear to a children's home.
Kimlin, 19, first-year Strategic Communication student:
I spend my 67 minutes cooking for the elderly and giving them presents because I believe they helped us grow and become who we are today. We as the youth should see the significance of this day and try to carry it on for the coming generations.
The idea behind this day is to "contribute to the making of a just society that remembers its past, listens to all voices, and pursues social justice for all." It is a day for people around the country to take responsibility and play a role within communities. It engages young people in activities that teach them to give back so that they can become the leaders of their generation. Young people believe in making every day a Mandela day and celebrating it in a sustainable way that will bring positive change in the country.