Mandela Day commemorated in South Africa

Late Mandela

Late Mandela

The Nelson Mandela International Day must be used to unify South Africans and everyone who lives in South Africa, several South Africans and immigrants in Johannesburg said on Tuesday.

The day is an opportunity to deal with issues of inequity and xenophobia which are derailing social cohesion and economic development of South Africa, they said.

“This is an important day for South Africans, it’s a crucial day to Africa as a continent too. The day brings pride to Africa,” said Johannes Mutero, a Zimbabwean who was among a group of South Africans and immigrants who went about donating food parcels to the needy in South Africa’s Rosettenville suburbs.

The annually celebrated Mandela Day kicked off across South Africa on Tuesday with locals and immigrants here pursuing a good goal and cause to honor what would have been South Africa’s Nelson Mandela’s 99th birthday.

Mandela, South Africa’s first black president was born July 18, 1918.

“It’s a day a man whose footprint cannot be blown away by death was born. It’s a day for us to celebrate and do what he should have done and encouraged us to do if he was here today with us,” said 12-year-old Ayibongwe Nxumalo, who was also among the group.

In 2009, United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 as annual International Nelson Mandela Day. The day recognises and honours Mandela’s commitment to building a democratic society that is united, non-racial and prosperous.

It also honours his contributions towards the reconstruction and development of South Africa and building a better Africa and a better World.

Mandela had developed himself and his leadership role above the boundaries of South Africa. He was an African leader and a global icon, Mutero said.
He recommended that Mandela Day be used to bring about unity in South Africa and across Africa.

Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999. He was the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election.

In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life in prison. He served 27 years in prison, spending many of those years on Robben Island in Cape Town.

Upon his release Mandela preached and installed reconciliation in South Africa. His political acumen united a country once torn by racial and tribal enmity. -Xinhua

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