How to remember Nelson Mandela on 5 December

Mandela statue Jonathan Gill South Africans are invited to lay a wreath at the statue of Nelson Mandela outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday 5 December. (Image: Jonathan Gill, Flickr).


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Mary Alexander

This Friday, 5 December 2014, will mark a full year since South Africa’s beloved statesman and icon of peace Nelson Mandela passed away. Here are some ways to honour his memory on the day.

1. Buy a book

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has launched a campaign requesting individuals, companies and organisation to buy a book – one or more – to donate to local libraries, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, as well as early childhood development centres. This is to honour Mandela’s deep concern for and love of children. “Giving children a healthy start in life,” he said, “no matter where they were born or the circumstances of their birth, is the moral obligation of all of us.”

2. Lay a wreath at the Mandela statue

A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Nelson Mandela statue at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from 08h00 on Friday. Veterans of the struggle against apartheid, including those who fought alongside Mandela, will lay the first wreaths. Ordinary South Africans are invited to lay their own wreaths at the statue during the course of the day.

Mandela memorial Wreaths laid outside Nelson Mandela’s Houghton home after his death in December 2013. (Image: GCIS).

3. Make a noise, and then be silent

During the morning of 5 December, at three minutes and seven seconds before 10h00 – that’s 09:56:53 – South Africans in schools, factories, mosques, churches, at home and at work are asked to ring their bells, sirens, car horns and alarms to signal three minutes of silence, starting at 10h00 and ending at 10h03. The time lapse from the signal to the end of the three minutes of silence will be exactly 6 minutes and 7 seconds, symbolising the 67 years Mandela gave to the cause of freedom.

At the end of the silence, at 10h03, South Africans everywhere are asked to sing the national anthem.

Mandela Memorial 10 Dec 05South Africans sing the national anthem at the Nelson Mandela memorial service at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 10 December 2013. (Image: GCIS)

4. Wear your Mandela gear

All South Africans are urged to wear their favourite Madiba shirt, or other Mandela memorabilia, on Friday. Take a photo and post it on social media with the hashtag #RememberMandela.

Mandela street artStreet art in Paris, France, commemorates Nelson Mandela.

5. #RememberMandela

South Africans are asked to share their memories of Mandela on social media using the hashtag #RememberMandela. For the “Where were you?” social media campaign, post where you were at key milestones in Madiba’s life – his release from prison in 1990, his inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, his presence at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, and more.

Mandela newspaper photoThe first photo of Nelson Mandela published in a newspaper in 27 years, just before his release from prison in 1990.

6. Explore the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory invites all South Africans to visit and explore the Centre of Memory at 107 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg, from 5 to 15 December 2014. The centre will be open from 09h00 to 16h00 on weekdays, and 09h00 to 14h00 on weekends.

7. Official ceremonies

The official commemorative ceremony will be held at Freedom Park in Pretoria, attended by invited guests and open to the media. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will give the keynote address.

Provincial governments will also hold their own commemorations on 5 December, or in the following days.

South Africans are asked to commemorate Nelson Mandela with dignity and respect. The events of 5 December are to be held to promote social cohesion among South Africans in memory of Madiba, encourage the people of the country, and the world, to live his values, promote the culture of giving that Mandela exemplified throughout his life, and build the nation according to Mandela’s vision.