18 July 2011
On 18 July 2011, the South African Consul General in New York, Mr. George Monyemangene, supported by officials from the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations (PMUN), commemorated Nelson Mandela Day by helping keep the city’s Central Park in top shape. The Take Action! Inspire Change! Campaign was organised jointly with the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York as part of Mandela Day’s festivities to ask people all over the world to devote 67 minutes to a community-based activity.
The South African Consul-General used the opportunity to remind those who were gathered in the park that former President of South Africa Mr. Nelson Mandela “is a global moral figure, whose example we should all follow”.
The New York Central Park Administration appreciated the 67 minute voluntary work conducted to upgrade their facilities. Accordingly, the New York Central Park attracts 38 million visitors a year. Their employees are not able to cope with the work required to maintain the facilities of the Park, an area of 843 acres (341 ha). Hence they heavily rely on volunteers to cover the day to day work that could not be performed by their employees.
On the sidelines of painting benches in New York Central Park, the PMUN and the South African Consulate General showed the film Invictus, to a group of more than sixty seven students from the USA. Most of the students came as far as Philadelphia, the first city in the USA that honored former President Mandela. The film centered on how Mr. Mandela used rugby, the sport, to encourage the South African people to unite around a common goal. Through Mr. Nelson Mandela’s endless efforts, South Africa was able to win the Rugby World Cup in 2005.
The showing of the video helped the students understand the history and challenges that the people of South Africa experienced and the efforts of Mr. Nelson Mandela to guide his people regardless of color or race for the improvement of the society and the entire country.
Mandela Day inspires New Yorkers