For those of you who do not know, July 18 is Nelson Mandela Day. An internationally recognized holiday, Nelson Mandela day commemorates the birthday of one of the world’s most influential leaders with a day of service.
Because Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for peace, the country celebrates 67 minutes of community service every July 18th. It is an opportunity for all South Africans to participate in meaningful service in some way.
Last year I spent my 67 minutes at Sakwingomso Educare center in Philipi township. Check out the post here.
This year the holiday carries special significance because it is the first since Madiba’s passing earlier in the year. With the death of the legend, I hope that the day will continue to significance. Madiba had an incalculable impact on the country. It is time that South Africans step up to fight their own fight. They need to adopt Madiba’s expectations of service, forgiveness, and humanity and move forward.
It was a privilege to be in South Africa last year to celebrate Madiba’s 95th birthday. I personally find him to be the single most remarkable human being of our generation. He shed the chains of his 27-year imprisonment and welcomed his captors with love and humility. After walking through Robben Island, the thought of a life within the concrete cells is unimaginable. Yet, he defied human nature to lead a life of compassion.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone not only of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, but also to encourage everyone to take their own 67 minutes of service this week in your local community.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” –Madiba