2012-07-15 15:35

South African citizens are being appropriately encouraged to devoting 67 minutes of their time to community service to mark Nelson Mandela Day on the 18th of July.

According to the Mandeladay webpage the overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day”.

Undoubtedly, the living legend and global icon, Nelson Mandela, has stimulated and transformed the lives of many communities and people in South Africa and around the globe.

However, I believe in order to perfectly honour Nelson Mandela’s mission, vision, legacy and what he fought for; we also need to stand up against corruption, nepotism and bribery.

External good deeds like doing some charity actions are commendable but not enough and do not truly and completely represent Mandela’s vision. We really have to provide effective transformation and practical solutions to balance the scales between the haves and have-nots and the debilitating poverty and diseases that stare us in the face.

In saying this I do not mean that Mandela Day should not be promoted or celebrated. Absolutely it is not. Every South African should honour this internationally recognised day by doing some kind action of voluntary service to their fellow human beings and make an imprint on the world. One candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. In fact, if each individual engages in creative kind-heartedness we will be encircled by the most outstanding people, coexisting, in the ideal society. Acts of compassion and charity will always benefit us in a much greater and more satisfying manner!

But to pin it down just too acts of kindness while the masses on the ground continue to live below poverty and substandard levels is definitely unacceptable. Mandela was a voice for the voiceless. He stood up against all forms of oppression, inequalities, domination, repressive and unjust laws.

Sadly enough, his mission and dream is being selectively implemented, promoted and in some instances superficially showcased.

Besides the growing unemployment, poverty and illiteracy rate in our country, dishonesty, lack of accountability, rule of law and service delivery is also an issue that is seriously affecting the citizens of South Africa. Moreover, unethical business and financial practices prevent economic development, job creation, empowerment, transformation and progress and destroys the lives of millions of people. The people who experience the worst consequences are the workers on the ground, the poor and the unemployed and in particular children and women within these groups.

To quote Nelson Mandela: “We have learnt now that even those people with whom we fought the struggle against apartheid’s corruption can themselves become corrupted”.

Hardly a day goes by without some news of widespread incompetence or corruption practices in some government department. Instead of helping the devastated poor people and diminishing middle-class, dwindling public funds are going into the pockets and personal accounts of some officials, their business associates or friends.

Together with the increase in violent and organized crime, there is also a surge in white collar crime and a culture of non accountability. The insatiable pursuit and greed for wealth and money as the ultimate objective of life are causing many to fall prey to this scourge of our society.

Honesty and ethics seem to have vanished from our monetary and social dealings. Unfortunately, fraud, bribery and corruption are rapidly becoming an acceptable way of making money. The fight against corruption is central to the struggle for human rights, the right to social equality and justice.

Unless members of parliament, the business privileged and our community and political leaders face up to this curse, Nelson Mandela’s dream, ambitions and his struggle for a life of dignity for all who live in South Africa is in danger.


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2010-11-21 18:15

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