Nelson Mandela Day celebrated with acts of charityListen /
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.
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.
In a video message, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute.
"Today, it gives me immense pleasure to say Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela has been a lawyer and a freedom fighter…A political prisoner, peacemaker and president…A healer of nations…and a mentor to generations of leaders and people from all walks of life throughout the world. Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to bring change to the people of South Africa. Our gift to him can – and must — be to change our world for the better. Today, I join the Nelson Mandela Foundation in urging each and every one of us to perform 67 minutes of public service on Nelson Mandela International Day."
In 1998, when Mr. Mandela was president of South Africa he addressed the General Assembly meeting New York.
"This is probably the last time I will have the honour to stand at this podium to address the General Assembly. Born as the First World War came to a close and departing from public life as the world marks half-a-century of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I have reached that part of the long walk when the opportunity is granted, as it should be to all men and women, to retire to some rest and tranquillity in the village of my birth. As I sit in Qunu and grow as ancient as its hills, I will continue to entertain the hope that there has emerged a cadre of leaders in my own country and region, on my Continent and in the world, which will not allow that any should be denied their freedom as we were; that any should be turned into refugees as we were; that any should be condemned to go hungry as we were; that any should be stripped of their human dignity as we were. I will continue to hope that Africa’s Renaissance will strike deep roots and blossom forever, without regard to the changing seasons. Were all these hopes to translate into a realizable dream and not a nightmare to torment the soul of the aged, then will I, indeed, have peace and tranquillity. Then would history and the billions throughout the world proclaim that it was right that we dreamt and that we toiled to give life to a workable dream. Thank you (applause)."