Commemorating Mandela: Govt declares 18 July national day of service

2018-07-06 17:07
A portrait of Nelson Mandela. (Stephane de Sakutin, AFP)

A portrait of Nelson Mandela. (Stephane de Sakutin, AFP)

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The government has declared July 18, 2018, which marks former president Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday, a national day of service with the key word for the day being "change". 

The inter-ministerial committee on the centenaries of both Mandela and Albertina Sisulu announced on Friday that the decision was inspired by Mandela who in 2009 said: "We should strive to change the world and make it a better place for all. It is in our hands to make a difference."


The committee held a briefing in Pretoria to give an update on the progress made on the implementation of the Comprehensive National Programme for the centenaries of the struggle icons. Mandela's would be under the theme: "Be the legacy", while Sisulu's would be under the theme: "A Woman of fortitude."

No official birthday event

Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe said there would be no official event to celebrate the birthday of the former president. He said that call was guided by the spirit of "Thuma Mina" to encourage people to go out and serve. 

Radebe encouraged South Africans to follow in Madiba's footsteps and go out in numbers to make the day a special one.

"Make a difference by donating your time towards disadvantaged communities and inspire a positive change that promotes the culture of ubuntu as well as humanitarian support," he said.

READ: The Reserve Bank wants you to put your face on the R100 Madiba note – but there are security risks if you do

Radebe also said that people were welcome to lay flowers and candles at any Mandela statue or structures, schools or streets named after him on the day.  

"We further call on all of society on the day of service to pause their activities at midday and observe a moment of silence, unity and mediation remembering 'what Nelson Mandela meant to me'," Radebe added.

On July 18 President Cyril Ramaphosa will visit Mvezo in the Eastern Cape as part of his contribution to the national day of service.

Women's Month dedicated to Sisulu

Radebe said other activities taking place as a build-up to the day include, among others, a Global Citizen Festival launch, the national imbizo focus week and a march, under #100MenMarch, against violence against women and children and a special a special orchid will also be officially named after Sisulu. 

Radebe said to commemorate the centenary of struggle icon Sisulu the government had dedicated Women's Month to celebrate her as a "selfless and courageous leader" who will also be celebrated for her contribution to the cause of democracy and fight for women's empowerment and gender equality.

"May we strive to work together to [ensure that 2018 is] remembered as the time in which transformation gained traction in our beloved country," Radebe said.  

Radebe said the inter-ministerial committee would continue to provide progress updates on the implementation of the programme for the remainder of the year.

Mandela 100

In celebration of what would have been former president Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday on July 18, News24 set out to honour 100 young South Africans who embody the characteristics Mandela was best known for.

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Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  mandela centenary  |  mandela100  |  mandela day

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