INTERNATIONAL NELSON MANDELA DAY
SOUTH AFRICAN AMBASSADOR NOLUTHANDO MAYENDE-SIBIYA
TO THE ARAB
REPUBLIC OF EGYPT
24 JULY 2011
Mattar, United National Information Centre, (UNIC) Director in
Dairi, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, (UNHCR)
Representative in Cairo
On the 18 July
2011, the world marked the 93rd
birthday of Nelson Mandela, a day that the United Nations
declared “Nelson Mandela International Day’ on 18 July 2010 in
recognition of Nelson Mandela’s contribution to global peace and
freedom, and adopted the resolution to commemorate his
long-standing commitment to promotiong conflict resolution, race
relations, human rights, reconciliation and gender equality.
This year, the
day comes as the world welcomed a new member of the United
Nations and as Africa also witnessed the birth of a new African
country of South Sudan. It is indeed a pleasure to mark this
important day with the children of South Sudan amongst us today.
was born on the 18 July 1918, in South Africa. He qualified as a
lawyer in 1942 from the University of Witwatersrand. In 1944 he
joined the African National Congress (ANC) in a resistance
campaign against the violent racist Apartheid regime policies
that were designed to disenfranchise the black majority.
banning of the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela spearheaded the
creation of Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) a military
wing of the ANC which was commonly known as the MK.
In 1962 Mandela
was arrested and sentensed to five years in imprisonment with
hard labour. He was also one of the Treason Trialist in 1963
together with many of the ANC leadership, where his court
statement received considerable international publicity.
On June 12,
1964 eight of the accused Treason Trialists including Mandela
were sentenced to life imprisonement. Nelson Mandela was
incarcerated at Robben Island Prison from 1964 to 1982 (18
years) and later transferred to Pollsmoor Prison where he spent
the rest of his prison term. Nelson Mandela spent a total of 27
years of his life imprisoned for fighting for the emancipation
of not only black South Africans but also the freedom for all
Africans from the shackles of its colonial past.
In 1994 Nelson
Mandela was elected the first president of a democratic South
Africa and remained the servant of the people until his
retirement in 1999.
gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity.
All it is asked of us, is for everyone to give 67 minutes of our
time, whether it is supporting a chosen charity or serving a
Mandela Day is a call to action to everyone of us to take
reponsibility for changing the world into a better place, one
small step at a time, just as Mandela did. In his own words he
“ we can change
the world and make it a better place.
It is in your
hands to make a difference.”
Let this day
inspire all of us from now on to:
Inspire Change and Make Every Day a Mandela Day.