10 July 2014
The government has called on all South Africans to honour former president Nelson Mandela by actively participating in the Clean South Africa campaign this Mandela Month.
The campaign was first mooted by President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address last month, when he called on South Africans to begin planning for a major clean-up of cities, towns, townships, villages and schools.
Speaking to reporters in Pretoria on Thursday following the Cabinet’s latest fortnightly meeting, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said a Clean South Africa award would be presented to the country’s top three municipalities for Mandela Month.
“We all have a responsibility to honour [Mandela’s] life by cleaning, improving and beautifying our communities,” Muthambi said.
Celebrated across the globe in honour of the late statesman’s birthday on 18 July, the day gives everyone the opportunity to emulate Mandela’s role as public servant.
“Mandela Day is not only about doing good, it is about service,” Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang said at the launch of this year’s event in April. “It is an opportunity to build upon Mr Mandela’s lifelong belief that we must live to serve every day, in whatever we do.”
Mandela Day, Hatang said, creates an opportunity for society’s “haves” and “have nots” to work together to confront social ills within their communities and to build a better world.
This year’s Mandela Day will be particularly symbolic in that it offers South Africans, and the world, an occasion to honour the ethos of the late Mr Mandela in the year that marks South Africa’s 20th year of democracy.
The idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008, when he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”
The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s “values and his dedication to the service of humanity” and acknowledging his contribution “to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world”.
The Mandela Day campaign asks that individuals, groups and corporates pledge 67 minutes of their time on 18 July, and every day thereafter, to give back. This can be by supporting a charity or serving the community. No matter how small the action, the aim is to change the world for the better – just as Mandela did.
SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter