South Africa: Millions mark Nelson Mandela Day

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – Millions of people around the world on Friday marked the Nelson Mandela Day, according to a PANA report here.

It was the first time the annual event was held since the global statesman died in December.

The United Nations in November 2009 officially declared the icon's birthday on 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day.

Over the years, the annual event has encouraged ordinary people to undertake acts of kindness and generosity for others.

The 67 minutes, which people are encouraged to use to do good for humanity, symbolises the 67 years of the Mandela’s courageous and selfless service to Africa and the rest of the world.

Mandela’s close friend, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on Friday told an audience in Cape Town that God is saluting Mandela for the role he played in unifying South Africa.

“And it’s not only in South Africa that people are celebrating. It's all over the world. And there is peace in places that know war," Tutu said.

In his comments, President Jacob Zuma urged South Africans to take part in an "Operation Clean Up for Mandela" campaign. He urged both the public and private sectors to reflect on how they disposed of waste, and for municipalities to discuss ways of improving refuse removal services in under-serviced communities.

Google marked the occasion with an interactive Doodle. Starting with an illustration of the world icon, visitors to the site can click through a number of his most well-known quotes, coupled with illustrations depicting stages of his “Long Walk to Freedom”.

The Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA), a trade union representing more than 226,000 public-sector employees, through its various Provincial Offices, donated school jerseys and food around the country.

In Johannesburg, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) accepted a handover of various books on Mandela from primary school children from the Roedean and Saheti schools.

Addressing the media at the hand-over, veteran struggle lawyer George Bizos who represented Mandela at the Rivonia Treason Trial, stressed the importance of education and the role books play in igniting the imagination.

The 249 MPs aligned to South Africa's ruling African National Congress will this weekend undertake various activities linked to their constituencies and ANC branches all over the country.

The activities include cleaning and repair operations at places like hospitals, clinics, informal settlements, schools, old age homes and houses of the infirm and distribution of food parcels to the less fortunate.

Meanwhile, a group of South African entrepreneurs marked the occasion by climbing to the top of Mount Kilamanjaro in Tanzania on Friday. Their “Make every day a Mandela Day” expedition is raising funds for 20 beneficiary schools from four African countries.

Team leaders Richard Mabaso and Sibusiso Vilane, the first black African to conquer the three poles (Everest and the North and South Pole), drove from South Africa through Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania which are all democracies pivotal to shaping South Africa's freedom.

Mabaso said the trip emulates Mandela's long walk to freedom – the steady and determined overcoming of obstacles and reaching your goal. He said he strongly believes in Mandela's immortal words, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
-0- PANA CU/VAO 18July2014

18 july 2014 15:13:58

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