Celebrating International Mandela Day today

Today South Africa celebrates the 104th birthday of Nelson Mandela, the first President of our democratic republic.

His life is commemorated as International Mandela Day, with persons around the world giving 67 minutes of their time to promote peace and end poverty on this day. The number 67 denotes the number of years that the former President fought for human rights.  Mandela Day celebrates that each person has the power to transform the world, and to make an impact.

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918. He was an activist, a politician, philanthropist and a lawyer. He spent 27 years in prison, mostly in a cell on Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and thereafter at Victor Verster (now named Drakenstein Prison) outside Paarl. He was released on 11 February 1990, making a moving speech from the balcony of the City Hall. A statue of Mandela has been erected on the balcony, not far from Labotessa, to commemorate his freedom. He led the country as its President and its transition to a multi-racial democracy in South Africa.

He was the recipient of numerous awards and medals, received many honorary doctorates, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and named Time magazine Person of the Year in 1993. Statues of the four South African Nobel Peace Prize winners Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela can be seen at Nobel Square in the V & A Waterfront.

I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom’ is attributed to Mandela.

 

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