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Please begin with an informative title:

Received an e-mail  from friend in South Africa yesterday catching us up on her news.  She shared,

"On Wednesday it is Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday and it has become a tradition for all people to do 67 minutes of 'good' for those less privileged on that day. I work for a soup kitchen which feeds the clinics at a maternity hospital, about 120 in all, but on Weds we will be feeding everyone in the wards as well, about 240 in total. It will be great and I am looking forward to it. Busy making 20 litres of soup right now!"
Wow, what a wonderful concept!

Nelson Mandela Day is not only celebrated in South Africa, but is also an international celebration as well.

Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18
      For freedom, justice and democracy
Check out this impressive web page by the
United Nations
This year on 18 July — Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday — the UN is joining a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

For 67 years Nelson Mandela 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.

How the Day came 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.

General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields 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.

Follow below for more about this great man and how we can all make a difference.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Nelson Mandela born in 1918, a leader in the struggle for rights for black Africans       was imprisoned from 1964 until his release in 1990 on Robben Island.  

While we were traveling in South Africa in 2005, we visited Robben Island Museum.  It is located off the coast of South Africa, and is a cold and remote place inhabited by penguins.  Some of the features of the tour were to visit the quarry where Nelson   Mandela and others worked, a look in the tiny cell where he was imprisoned, and a talk by one of the others that was imprisoned there at the same time.  

Nelson Mandela's Cell, Robben Island, 2005  

The docent at Robben Island Museum, who had also been imprisoned there toward   the end of Mandela's time, talked of the rewards of  "reconciliation" for the new nation.

In the words of Nelson Mandela:

On reconciliation

We in South Africa are convinced that it is both possible and practicable to reach our goal of a better life for all in the shortest possible time. We derive our confidence from the knowledge that this is a vision shared by the overwhelming majority of South Africans across the colour and political divides.

And we fully appreciate the role of the international community in making this happen — not only in the form of material support. If we are able today to speak proudly of a rainbow nation, united in its diversity of culture, religion, race, language and ethnicity, it is in part because the world set us a moral example which we dared to follow.

This achievement is bound to last because it is founded on the realisation that reconciliation and nation-building mean, among other things, that we should set out to know the truth about the terrible past and ensure it does not recur. Ours must therefore not be merely a respite before the bitterness of the past once more reasserts itself.

We recognise too, that reconciliation and nation-building would remain pious words if they were not premised on a concerted effort to remove the real roots of past conflict and injustice. Our national security and the survival of our young democracy depend, above everything else, on the programme to meet the basic needs of the people. Reconstruction and development will ensure that all South Africans have a stake in life; that they share an interest in the well-being of the country as a whole.

New Delhi, India, 25 January

Reading this and having heard one of his fellow inmates speak to this issue makes you realize what a noble man he was to move beyond his experience and hope for a better life for all in his country.  No whining, no demands for apology just wanting his country to move forward to a better place.

There is so much to read about his life and what he has managed to accomplish but some of the topics he spoke to a very issues that are timely in the United States during this run up to the election.  

On freedom

Those who are voteless cannot be expected to continue paying taxes to a government which is not responsible to them. People who live in poverty and starvation cannot be expected to pay exorbitant house rents to the government and local authorities. We furnish the sinews of agriculture and industry. We produce the work of the gold mines, the diamonds and the coal, of the farms and industry, in return for miserable wages. Why should we continue enriching those who steal the products of our sweat and blood? Those who exploit us and refuse us the right to organise trade unions? ...

“The Struggle is my Life" - Press Statement issued while underground in South Africa,

26, June 1961

The life of Nelson Mandela is a rich and fascinating one and I could spend much more time writing of many of the events in his life.  But the real reason for this diary was to offer up this real way to make a difference...........give 67 minutes to the community in recognition of this great man.  

The website www.mandeladay.com has 67 ways you can make a change in the world, so feel good today or whenever and make a difference.

4:49 PM PT: This just in from my friend in South Africa:  " Great celebrations here all day. A few million children sang "Happy Birthday" at 8am and many, many people worked for at least 67 minutes doing something for the underprivileged, needy and aged. Lovely to see and we must make it last all year. I helped serve soup to 320 people in a hospital, great day.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Jakkalbessie on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 03:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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