Today is Nelson Mandela’s (who, according to his family is doing much better) 95th birthday. Today is also Mandela Day. Mandela Day was started in 2009 by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a year after Madiba’s 90th birthday. Later that year the UN officially declared July 18 to be International Nelson Mandela Day.
It’s not a public holiday, not even in South Africa. It’s rather (according to the official website) “a day dedicated to his life’s work and that of his charitable organisations, and to ensure his legacy continues forever.” The idea behind it is that, “Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community. Mandela Day is a call to action for individuals – for people everywhere – to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mr Mandela did.” Wikipedia calls it, “…a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.”
I don’t have a problem with honouring the legacy of someone like Madiba. The impact he has had on South Africa and the rest of the world cannot be denied and he will forever be remembered along with people like Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King Jr. Nor do I disagree that every individual can and should make an impact – in fact, it should be said more often.
But this 67 minutes-thing bugs me. Continue reading “On Mandela Day”