Mandela Day 2011 launched

2011-03-28 14:31

Nelson Mandela International Day was launched by a panel of schoolchildren today in the absence of the recuperating former president.

Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said a decision was made ahead of the launch not to mention Madiba’s health to avoid it overshadowing the day.

Madiba was said to have asked not to be made the centre of the launch.

In January Mandela spent a few nights in a Johannesburg Hospital to be treated for a respiratory ailment.

Concern over his health mounted as behind-the-scenes disagreements on who would issue updates to the media created an information void, leaving the public to speculate over whether he was alive or dead.

The launch, held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s premises in Houghton, saw the children, from various high schools in Gauteng give their views on what the day means to them and how it should be commemorated.

The children called for individuals and communities to make Mandela Day an everyday initiative to do good for the underprivileged.

The foundation also showcased its social network pages on Twitter and Facebook, listed as Centre of Memory.

Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected president and the first black person to hold the post.

He spent 27 years in prison for his role in the struggle to bring down the apartheid government and is regarded globally as an example of forgiveness and reconciliation.

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