21 July 2014
While the government thanked those South Africans who dedicated 67 minutes of their time to cleaning up their surroundings on Friday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation thanked all those from around the world who turned out in support of the first Mandela Day since Mandela’s passing.
In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma’s clean-up campaign in the Eastern Cape was accompanied by clean-up initiatives – and a host of other volunteer and community service activities – by government departments, companies, organisations and communities countrywide.
“Our country is the perfect example of what can be achieved when people come together because of our history,” Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said on Friday. “Every individual has the ability and responsibility to impact positive change.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it was heartened by the number of sustainable projects still thriving, five years after the first Mandela Day in 2009.
“At the same time it has been inspiring to see the range of innovative new projects to emerge,” the foundation said. “And we welcome the degree to which structures of the state, of civil society and in the private sector are working together for the campaign.”
Mandela Day activations were recorded in 126 countries, with over 1 200 activities registered on the Mandela Day website. Nearly half-a-million food parcels were distributed to needy South Africans. Over a million sanitary towels were made available to South African schoolgirls.
“Drawing on volunteers from Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, the US and South Africa, Habitat for Humanity built another 67 houses for those in need. And we recorded over 15 000 books donated to school libraries on the day itself.
“Of course, the heart of Mandela Day is not about numbers and statistics,” the foundation said. “It is about building sustainable cultures of service, overcoming alienation, and inspiring people to change their societies so that fundamental systemic issues are addressed.
“Let us demonstrate that the legacy of Nelson Mandela is a living one. Let us make Mr Mandela proud, every day.”