July 18, a unique day it is, one that is recognised by the United Nations because of the life and times of the man that was born on that day. I am sure many more people were born on this day as Nelson Mandela and probably within the same generation but their stories are different and unique. Madiba today is seen as the greatest political figure or one of the greatest to ever emerge in modern times. He is a giant in his right just like his height portrays.
I remember those times when I started reading his autobiography; Long Walk To Freedom; I just couldn’t stop or take a break from it, never rushed it, made sure I understood every word he wrote and in the end it took me about a year to finish that great book about himself.
What one can pick from his life are the sacrifices he had to make that Africa and South Africa might be free from all racial scourges that ravaged her. He was willing to pay the ultimate price and one could see that he had faith in the cause he set out to achieve. A man who loved everything called African, a better world of peace and harmony.
How did International Mandela Day come about?
In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
Their resolution (A/RES/64/13) was based on his values and dedication to serve humanity in the areas of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
In December 2005, the General Assembly decided to extend the scope of Nelson Mandela International Day to also be utilized in order to promote humane conditions of imprisonment, to raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society and to value the work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance.
General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/175 not only adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, but also approved that they should be known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules” in order to honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle.
For today’s celebration of this great man, the South African High Commission in Abuja has a launched a 67-minute community work in partnership with Nelson Mandela Institution, Fountain of Joy and Comfort Foundation and others.
The 67-minute represents the 67 years he spent in his struggle for equality for the South African people.
Other activities in his honour will include handover of a block of six classrooms, football match and book reading at the New Kuchingoro IDPs camp in Abuja. They will also donate drinking water, food items, clothing, generators among others.
The High Commission will also give the IDPs Skill Development Centres especially for the youths where they will be taught tailoring, sewing, beadwork, woodwork, welding, painting, arts and craft etc. to enhance their skills and use the same to earn a living.
Credit: UN, LEADERSHIP