TWO days ago there was a global standstill for the departed icon and hero of today’s South Africa, nay all black peoples of the world. Yes, every July 18 marks the Nelson Mandela International Day. The objective of which is to“inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better”. Expectedly, encomiums poured from far and wide eulogising the late South African leader and president who practically sacrificed his life that his beloved country may be free; and indeed, South Africa was freed from the shackles of apartheid and Mandela went on to become his country’s first democratically elected president. His unique inspirational cum leadership qualities so endeared him to his fellow country men and women as well as global watchers that till date the man his compatriots prefer to call Madiba lives on in their consciousness. I recently read on the internet that in July, South Africa celebrates former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday. The day, July 18 has since been declared Nelson Mandela International Day. But in his native country, the month of July presents an opportunity for South Africans to embrace the chance to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life for the whole of month. This gives everyone the opportunity to heed the call to action for people to recognise their individual power to make an imprint and change the world around them. Today, there is a conscious global movement for positive change beginning with small actions which believes that as each person acts, he joins others to fuel momentum towards positive change, raising awareness and expanding the reach of late Mandela’s values; fighting injustice, helping people in need and practicing
reconciliation. Accordingly, the growing movement expects admirers of the late president of South Africa to key into aspects that would further the foregoing causes. These include but not limited to assisting in the following areas: • Contacting your local HIV organisation and finding out how you can help • Help out at the local hospital and medicare facility in your neibourhood • Visit and chat with many terminally ill people have no friends or family who can visit them and finding out what they need. • Tutor kids in a school subject you are good at. • Donate your old computer, books, etc to a school. • Mentoring and sensitising people in your neibourhood on the ideals of freedom and democracy The list is obviously inexhaustible given what the late Mandela stood for and symbolised. Recall that in his anti-apartheid days, his favourite saying was: The struggle is my life. That ideal should fire his admirers to do more for their respective countries and peoples inspite of all odds. Good enough, here in Nigeria, the High Commission of South Africa commemorated the Nelson Mandela Day Monday with the inauguration of a Skills Acquisition Centre for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. For the record, Nigeria’s unfortunate rising numbers of IDPs, no thanks to the insurgency problems on the North East horn of the country has been a recurring issue both in government and public circles. With uncertainty over their security should they return home given the relative peace that is returning there, there is no better time to assist them to work out a future for them as was demonstrated by the South African High Commission here in Abuja. To me, the gesture and its timing were apt and plausible. That is the spirit of the late Mandela that his Day throws up in all that appreciate him and his contributions to not just his country but the world. Certainly, the Madiba lives on!!!

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