Nelson Mandela Day: pay it forward

South Africans are no strangers to the legacy of Nelson Mandela. The father of the nation holds a special place in all our hearts because of his sacrifices, his selflessness and his generosity. On Nelson Mandela Day, we take time to reflect on the invaluable contribution this icon made to our country. But it’s interesting to see how Madiba’s name has been used the world over as a tribute to this statesman. Streets, schools, stadiums, universities, bridges, buildings and monuments, among others, all over the world bear the name of Nelson Mandela.

Honouring Madiba all over the world

According to Brand South Africa, the list includes Nelson Mandela Boulevard in Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela residential hall at Rhodes University and Nelson Mandela Museum in the Eastern Cape. Further afield are Nelson Mandela bridges in the Netherlands and Belgium, a Nelson Mandela Drive in Castries, St Lucia, Avenue du President Nelson Mandela in Paris and Nelson Mandela Boulevard in Caracas, Venezuela. There is a municipality named Mandela near Rome, Italy, and stadiums in Mauritius, Uganda and Spain. Educational institutions have been named after Madiba in Mali, the US, Jerusalem, Berlin and India. There are also scholarships and even biological organisms named after him. It’s clear that people the world over want to keep the memory of Nelson Mandela alive.

Nelson Mandela Day: a living legacy

Every year on Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, we celebrate the memory of this great leader. Nelson Mandela Day was launched in 2009 after a unanimous decision by the UN General Assembly. On this day, people try to change the world for the better, just as Mandela did, by dedicating 67 minutes of service to people and institutions in need.

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” Nelson Mandela

The Mandela Day website encourages everyone to celebrate this historic day by keeping the spirit of Madiba alive through social justice and freedom and becoming part of a global movement for good: “Take Action. Inspire Change. Make every day Mandela Day.” Initiating or supporting charitable events in our communities will ensure that his legacy lives on. Every small act contributes to a better world.

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