Mandela Day was internationally recognised in 2009 in a unanimous decision of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on the anniversary of the birthday of the late Mr Nelson Mandela on 18 July. On this historic day, people throughout the world are encouraged to dedicate their time to doing something good for humanity, especially the poorest of the poor.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela devoted 67 years of his life to the service of humanity. He was a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. Every year on International Mandela Day on the 18 July, the UN joins with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the 46664 campaign to encourage people around the world to devote 67 minutes of their day to helping others. It is more than just a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy; it is an encouragement to give back.
To commemorate this day in a manner that takes the legacy of this selfless leader of the people’s further, Parliament will be holding different programmes to help the historically marginalised. The programme to celebrate Mandela Day is always a highlight of the parliamentary year and this year is no different.
Celebrations will also take place against the backdrop of celebrations to commemorate 20 years of the Constitution and the establishment of the National Council of Provinces. Madiba’s legacy is inseparable from the drafting of the Constitution and the founding of the NCOP. Thus, it is fitting to honour his work as we commemorate these two landmark occasions.
Delivering a speech on the occasion of the adoption of the Constitution, Madiba said: “Long before the gruelling sessions of the final moments, it had been agreed that once and for all, South Africa will have a democratic Constitution based on that universal principle of democratic majority rule. Today, we formalise this consensus. As such, our nation takes the historic step beyond the transitory arrangements which obliged its representatives, by dint of law, to work together across the racial and political divide.”
Addressing the newly established NCOP in 1998, Madiba said: “The presence of representatives of the South African Local Government Association in this Council is something new. Bringing local government to the heart of the national legislative process and sensitising local government to the national imperatives of transformation can only promote the basic purpose of co-operative governance, of working together for a better life for all South Africans.”
Describing the NCOP in the same speech, he said, “It is therefore appropriate that this Council should be the forum for an exchange of views at this point in the annual parliamentary cycle. The NCOP is uniquely placed to reflect the diversity of our society and to synthesise the experience of those spheres of government which are charged with the great bulk of the task of implementing our national programme of fundamental change”.
The year on Mandela Day, Members of Parliament will be the agents of the celebrations in their constituencies and will mobilise their constituencies to promote the values of freedom, reconciliation, peace and harmony. Different programmes are planned aimed at impacting on the lives of ordinary South Africans in the constituencies in the name of Mandela Day.
The NCOP Deputy Chairperson, Mr Raseriti Tau, will participate in the programme planned for 17 July in his constituency in Colville Location in Kimberley. Mr Tau will be delivering books to one of the Judy Scott community library in Collvile.
Also, Parliament’s squash team and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s sports department will be celebrating Nelson Mandela Day on 14 July with the theme “Parliament Squash and CPUT celebrating Mandela through action”. 18 learners from different schools in Cape Town’s impoverished communities have been invited to take part in the event.
The squash event has been organised on Mandela Day to eliminate the stereotype that squash is the sport of the elite. “We have decided to use Mandela Day as a vehicle to take squash to the historically marginalised communities and show them that squash is sport for all the people,” said Mr Kholekile Gorata, the Chairperson of Parliament’s squash team and one of the event organisers.
Members of Parliament and staff, as well as CPUT squash players, some of whom also play in the Western Province Squash Association League, will be assisting the learners. Member of Parliament Mr Mnyamezeli Booi will give the vote of thanks at the end of the programme.
13 July 2017