Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day) is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010 – the first ever UN declaration honouring a world leader’s birthday.
“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.” Nelson Mandela
Madiba said these words at his 90th Birthday celebration and ever since then South Africans from all walks of life have been trying to live out his ideals on a particular day, July 18th. But we really need to live each and every day like this. Like the man himself, we need our country to make a difference on a daily basis, in whichever way they can.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) have invested greatly in Mandela Day for the last ten years and One Lady & A Tribe have are honoured to have been a part of creating their campaigns, encouraging individuals and corporates to become involved in community projects and, more recently, to focus specifically on poverty.
How it Started: 46664 Concerts and 67 Minutes
On 27 April 2009, the 46664 concerts and the Nelson Mandela Foundation invited the global community to join them in support of an official Mandela Day. Mandela Day wasn’t meant as a public holiday, but as a day to honour the legacy of Mandela and his values, through volunteering and community service.
The world was encouraged on Madiba’s birthday to get involved in some form of community service – painting a rundown school, reading to people in old age homes, feeding the homeless, donating blankets etc. As a result of an New York City campaign, in which people were asked to spend 67 minutes doing good, the global 67 minutes campaign spread. But the reality is that community service should be part of our ethic 365 days a year and not just on one day. With this in mind the NMF shifted its campaign positioning to:
Make Everyday a Mandela Day
The Make Every Day a Mandela Day campaign has spanned the last half decade and is now focused on alleviating the poverty crisis in South Africa. Poverty is at the root of malnutrition, stunting, poor educational outcomes, the skills deficit and unemployment, disease, the loss of dignity, and even anger and violence.
Mandela Day 2019
It is the 10th anniversary of Mandela Day in 2019 and the NMF are setting 10 goals for the next 10 years. They are moving away from implementing the campaigns to focus on creating sustainable models that government, corporates and individuals can become stakeholders. This is to ensure that the issues that need urgent addressing and resolve become the responsibility of both the government and society at large.
There are 5 main focus areas : Education/ Literacy / Food and Nutrition / Shelter / Sanitation / Citizen Activism.
How it Works
The campaign is being launched with a call to action from a leading South African. A manifesto of change. A challenge set to the Rainbow Nation. At the end of the manifesto people are guided to the website where they can accept a daily, weekly, monthly or even a yearly challenge.
The website is to be a portal of challenges set by NGOs, private citizens and ourselves. Each challenge with a start and end date, a location, a brief spec of what is needed and an “Accept Challenge” button. Visitors can then choose which challenge to accept – it could be a small one, like painting a school hall. Or a big one, like helping someone pay for varsity. “Challenge Accepted” is a phrase that denotes ACTION. A positive response to Madiba’s request. But it’s bigger than that. It’s a promise by South Africans from all walks of life to accept huis challenge, and live it every day.
“One of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself.” Nelson Mandela
We want to inspire action in all South Africans, young and old. Everyone is invited to live Mandela Day, every day. Each of us can make every day a Mandela Day by choosing to do something sustainable that will help South Africa eradicate poverty and ensure we each realise the ideal of a dignified life. It’s time for us to all accept his challenge.
Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader
About: One Lady & A Tribe:
An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.