July 18 marks the birthday of the first black elected South African President, Nelson Mandela who relentlessly fought for the freedom of South Africa’s black population.
Guyana has joined the rest of the world to celebrate the life and legacy of the late South African leader in observance of Nelson Mandela International Day.
The United Nations recognised Mandela’s dedication to the service of humanity and democracy and awarded him this day which took effect in 2010 after being declared in November, 2009.
According to the UN: “Every year on 18 July — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.”
Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity as a human rights lawyer, prisoner of conscience, and an international peacemaker.
According to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the celebration of Mandela Day aims to serve as a global call to action for people to “recognise their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better.”
“By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good…take action, inspire change, make every day a Mandela Day,” the Foundation further noted.
Born in 1918, Mandela spent 27 years (1962 to 1990) in prison for his involvement in attempting to overthrow the then apartheid minority government of South Africa. The BBC noted that he worked to “achieve human rights and a better future for everyone in South Africa”.
Mandela led the African National Congress to power and severed as President from 1994 to 1999, before voluntarily stepping down.
He died in 2013 from lung illness.