The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) has urged the international community use this year’s Mandela Day to identify and establish projects that would curb poverty across the globe.
NMF CEO Sello Hatang said unless people tackled poverty, Nelson Mandela’s dream of a society in which all were equal would remain “just a dream”. Mandela Day is an international campaign centred around the United Nations’ 2009 declaration of Nelson Mandela’s 18 July birthday as Nelson Mandela International Day.
On this day everyone, everywhere is encouraged to take concrete steps towards improving life for others.
The campaign is now observed in 149 countries. The 2017 Mandela Day themed: Taking Action Against Poverty was launched in Johannesburg on 10 May.
“The foundation this year shifted the focus of Mandela Day from simply making every day a Mandela Day to encouraging South Africans to seek out projects that have sustainability, reach and impact,”he said.
Hatang said more than 63% of South African children live in poverty and one in five South Africans live in extreme poverty.
One of Mandela Day’s founding trustees, Mamphela Ramphele said Mandela was “a revolutionary focused on social justice” and until poverty is eradicated, South Africa could not claim to be a society based on social
“We want Mandela Day to be an inspiration to fundamentally change our attitude to poverty, our view of who we are so that we become a society that liberates the energies of every person in South Africa,” she said.
Nelson Mandela was the country’s first black president after the rule of apartheid ended in the early 90s.
He retired from the highest office in 1999 and died in 2013. The foundation has urged the public to follow the 2017 Mandela Day activities by using #ActionAgainstPoverty on social media.