Today would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday. As you hopefully know, his birthday was declared Nelson Mandela Day by the United Nations in 2009. It is supposed to be a day dedicated continuing Madiba’s legacy, and to the idea that every individual can make a contribution toward making the world a better place for all. I wrote about Mandela Day and in particular my opinion around the whole 67-minutes idea last year.
Today is also the first Mandela Day since his death in December last year.
It feels to me like it’s much less of a big deal this year. Last year politicians were all over the place, putting in their 67 minutes of charity work. This year (judging by newspaper headlines) they’re all sitting in budget votes or testifying before commissions investigating government corruption, except for our president who’s apparently cleaning a school.
I’m wondering if all the hype last year was simply because of Mr Mandela’s illness and the approaching elections.
I really try not to be cynical, but sometimes…
Update: According to the evening news our politicians did indeed put in their 67 minutes today, and some of them even more than that. It doesn’t temper my cynicism, though. I can’t help but think our country would be much better off if they spent every day out in the streets picking up trash and giving food to homeless people, rather than sitting in parliament debating pointless laws…
Here’s an idea: people elected to political office must be obligated to spend ten hours a week minimum doing humanitarian work which requires them to be in actual physical contact with people requiring aid. Attending fundraising banquets don’t count, nor does any work involving sitting in an office. If I ever become supreme ruler that’s the first law I’m implementing. I have spoken.