Nelson Mandela International Day 2019: History and Significance
Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July, 1918 in South Africa. He was a great politician, revolutionary and philanthropist. On 18 July, Nelson Mandela birthday falls so, this day is celebrated as Nelson Mandela International Day. It is also known as Mandela Day.
The day is observed to “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.” Everywhere people should take responsibility for making the world a better place. For almost 67 years, he fought against social justice. Do you know that since 2009, on 18 July it has been an official United Nations holiday.
“Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.”
He had devoted his life to the service of humanity; as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. He proved that nothing is impossible only determination is required to fulfil the dreams.
About Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was born as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in Transkei, South Africa on 18 July, 1918. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and father Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela. When Rolihlaha was 12 years old, his father died and so he became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place at Mqhekezweni. There he always listened to the stories about the valour of the ancestors struggled for freedom. For his B.A Degree, he went to the University College of Fort Hare. But, he didn't received his degree due to the protest of students that he had joined. As a result, he was expelled from the college. Then, he went back to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni where the king threatened him that if he will not complete his degree, he will going to arrange a marriage for him.
“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.”
Due to this, he ran to Johannesburg, where he worked as a mine security officer. Eventually, he had completed his studies through the University of South Africa and received his B.A degree. No doubt, he is one of the most well-known anti-apartheid activists in South Africa.
In 1940, he became a member of the African National Congress party and later he became leader in a number of peaceful protests against the white minority’s regime in South Africa.
In 1963, he was imprisoned in Robben Island, Cape Town in South Africa for leading the liberation movement against apartheid and for his stance on the human right to live in freedom. His prisoner number was 466.
Even the Robben Island prisoners were never referred by their names but by their numbers. Mandela number was 46664. In 1990, he was released from imprisonment and contributed towards a multi-racial democracy in South Africa. In 1994, due to his efforts he was elected as the president of South Africa. Therefore, he became the first black president of South Africa. Till 1999, he remained president in an office. In 1993, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, together with another former South African president Frederic Willem de Klerk.
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”
Mandela formed the Elders, an independent group of global leaders in 2007 who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major human suffering causes and promote the shared interests of humanity. He died in 2013.
Nelson Mandela International Day: History
On 18 July, 2009, the first Mandela Day was launched in New York. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 10 November, 2009 declaring 18 July as "Nelson Mandela International Day". This day marks the contribution to peace through his active involvement in resolving conflicts, promoting human rights, international democracy and reconciliation and in addressing racial issues.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
To honour Nelson Mandela various statues and civic tributes have been made like a statue in Mandela’s image at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, South Africa. Even a bridge, known as the Nelson Mandela Bridge is also found in Johannesburg. Postage stamp has also dedicated to Nelson Mandela, as well as various musical tributes in previous times.
How Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated?
Mandela provides service to others and always wants to create a better world for everyone. So, on this day if people find injustice in the neighbourhood, city or state they do everything to alleviate the problem. Work in soup kitchens, marched with protesters, volunteer in local organisations and work to help bring about civil liberties for everyone. Inspire change, and make every day a celebration of Mandela Day. People work for others and want to improve the life of people around them. They will do this by volunteering or taking part in protests.
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
This day provides a global call for the people to recognise their ability and have a positive effect on others around them. People also inspire others about the values that Mandela shared like democracy, freedom, diversity, reconciliation and respect. To promote Nelson Mandela Day, many people and organisations around the world take part in several activities. These activities are volunteering, sport, art, education, music and culture. This day also celebrates a campaign known as “46664”, in reference to Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison number. The campaign was originally launched to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. In 1995 and 1999 Children's Fund and the Nelson Mandela Foundation was established.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”