Ever since coming to New York to report on the first ever Mandela Day and the concert that accompanied it at Radio City Music Hall, I’ve been interested in the relationship between this city and my former president, Nelson Mandela. He made an important trip here just after his release in 1990, and his legacy still lives on in various landmarks around New York.
The UN declared 18 July, the birthday of Madiba as we fondly call him, International Mandela Day, and every year, people all over the world are encouraged to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to charity, or an act of goodwill, that is in keeping with the spirit of this great man, reflecting the 67 years he spent in prison.
Without trying to sound righteous, at a time now in the US when race and social justice has been brought to the fore of the American pschye because of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, the lessons from the life of Madiba are even more important than ever. I’d like to see Mandela Day become a strong link between the two countries I love – SA and the USA – through this important occasion.
There are a number of events and activities being planned around the city, and also in Boston, DC, LA and Pittsburg. 18 American cities are getting involved. And it’s not just on Thursday – the events will continue this weekend, so if you need to move it to then, you can. And if you need help on what to do with your 67 minutes – go here and here and even here!