Making a difference on Mandela Day

18 July 2022

In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared the birthday of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela International Day. The 18th of July is an annual celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and a global call to action for people to recognise their individual power to make an imprint and change the world around them. It is a day when everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and change the world for the better.

This year South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, joined by several Heads of Diplomatic Missions accredited to Pretoria celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day at Leratong Hospice in Atteridgeville. Also present was Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Integration and Diaspora of the Republic of Côte D’Ivoire Kandia Kamissoko Camara.

Various donations including blankets, portable radios, food items, clothes, gas stoves and cash were made by the diplomatic community.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Eritrea Salih Omar Abdu on addressing those present (pictured) said the Diplomatic Community accredited to the Republic of South Africa join South Africa and people all over the world in commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day.

He said, “President Mandela, a great African and global icon whose life and contribution devoted to the betterment of society, will continue to have a profound influence, not only in South Africa, but also across the globe that symbolises a moral compass of our generation and generations to come.

"This great man left many legacies including Ubuntu, the fundamental of human kindness. Let the spirit of Ubuntu - the spirit that we are human, only through the humanity of others, continue to be the guiding principles of our relationship with people in our society.

"Over the past year, South Africa has experienced many turbulences; from the COVID-19 pandemic to last year's civil unrest in July, as well as this year’s flooding disasters that have devastated lives, destroyed livelihoods, destroyed infrastructure, and the excruciating impact of the Russia-Ukraine war that has worsened the cost of living in the country and beyond. These turbulences further complicated the developmental challenges of poverty and unprecedented joblessness.

"The commemoration of Mandela International Day in these challenging times, reminds us of the core values and principles, which the former President stood for. Let us continue to call the spirit of Ubuntu in us to ensure 'We leave no one behind'. Let us do whatever we can with whatever we have wherever we are to spread kindness to others through gift, support and compassion.

"The members of the International Community, Ambassadors and High Commissioners present, I urge them to build on the legacies of dignity, humanity and moral compass that President Mandela was known for - to promote human security and global peace. Let us do whatever we can to stop conflict and wars across the world.

"As President Mandela once said, "Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is a creation of the environment where all can flourish, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class or any other social markers".

"Therefore, we are responsible to treat all people equally and to not discriminate against them based on disability, gender, race, religion or nationality. This is how to sustain the legacy of our global icon, President Nelson Mandela, in order to leave a good legacy for future generations. The Diplomatic Community headquartered in South Africa will continue to interact and work with South Africans and the Government of South Africa to ensure that the legacy of Nelson Mandela remains vibrant and influential,” said Ambassador Abdu.


Photos: DIRCO