- Statement by His Excellency Jeffrey Radebe, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations General Assembly on the Occasion of the Mandela International Day, 18 July 2012, New York City
NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY
In recognition of Nelson Mandela’s contributions to democracy, racial justice, reconciliation and his service to humanity, the United Nations General Assembly established 18 July (his birthday) as Nelson Mandela International Day.
Every year, individuals around the world are encouraged to devote 67 minutes of their time on 18 July to changing the world for the better – by volunteering in a hospital, tutoring a child or donating food, for instance. The 67-minute campaign – “Take Action! Inspire Change” – is based on one minute of action for every year Nelson Mandela estimates he devoted to public service, as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and president of South Africa.
This year – Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday – the following activities are being planned in New York City:
Informal Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly
An informal meeting of the General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters on the morning of 18 July will be devoted to “Building a Caring World – Nelson Mandela’s Vision.” Speakers include Mr. Jeff Radebe, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development of South Africa; Professor Ibrahim Gambari, last Chair of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid; Dr. Enuga Reddy, former Principal Secretary of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid; and others to be confirmed. The event will be webcast live at www.un.org/webcast.
Performance by University of Cape Town Opera School Students
Two graduate students of the University of Cape Town Opera School, Mr. Thesele Nakani, a bass baritone, and Ms. Bongiwe Nakani, a mezzo soprano, will perform at the end of the General Assembly meeting. The Opera School, under the direction of the American Kamal Kahn, has made major efforts to cultivate talented singers and introduce them to the international stage. As a result, some of the world’s greatest classical opera talents over the past few years have emerged from an unexpected place: the black townships of South Africa. Live webcast at www.un.org/webcast.
UN and Diplomatic Staff at the Bowery Mission Soup Kitchen
A group of staff from the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations Development Programme, the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations and the South African Consulate General will volunteer at the Bowery Mission (www.bowery.org) on 18 July, helping to prepare and serve meals. Since 1879, the Bowery Mission has provided homeless men and women with a warm meal, shelter, clothing and medical care. Photos of the activity will be posted on www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay.
The South-East corner of 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue was named after Nelson and Winnie Mandela in 1984, in recognition of their fight against the South African Apartheid regime. Mr. Mandela, at the time, was still in jail. This year on 18 July, UN volunteers will be handing out postcards on the corner, raising awareness for Mandela Day and the “Take Action! Inspire Change” campaign.
Queens Museum of Art
The Queens Chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States is partnering with the Queens Museum of Art (www.queensmuseum.org) in an event at 6:00 p.m. where audience members will be asked to sum up what Nelson Mandela means to them – in 67 seconds. The highly interactive evening will include a brief film screening, music and guest speakers. The event is organized in association with the United Nations Academic Impact’s “7/18 for Mandela” initiative.
Immigrant Movement International
This community centre in Queens (immigrant-movement.us) is organizing an event at 6:00 p.m., largely in Spanish, featuring remarks by representatives of the diplomatic community, a film screening and a performance by a local artist. The focus is on multiracialism, which Nelson Mandela sought to restore in South Africa and which is evident and thriving in Queens. The event is organized in association with the United Nations Academic Impact’s “7/18 for Mandela” initiative.
Madiba – a South African restaurant in Brooklyn (www.madibarestaurant.com) – will donate 7.18 per cent of its day’s revenue on 18 July as a tax-deductible donation to two local schools and is encouraging other businesses in Fort Greene to do the same. The action is part of the United Nations Academic Impact’s “7/18 for Mandela” initiative.
Harlem Arts Summer Camp
ProjectArt (www.projectartonline.org), an after-school, weekends and summer visual arts education program for children and youth in Harlem, is devoting 18 July to Nelson Mandela. After an instructional classroom session in the morning, 30 kids aged 4 to 12 are planning to paint a mural inspired by Nelson Mandela.
The Hope and Promise of Leadership
Brahma Kumaris, an international NGO, is organizing an event at the Church Centre (777 UN Plaza), from 1 to 3 p.m., exploring the hope and promise of leadership, through expert presentations, reflection and dialogue in small groups. For more information and to RSVP, please contact 212-688-1335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around the World:
Young Changemakers, a non-profit youth group in India, is arranging for 67 scholarships for children at the Shree Ganesh Vidya Mandir primary school in the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai who need to finance their own education after the seventh grade. The scholarships will be announced on 18 July at an event in Mumbai, organized in association with the United Nations Academic Impact initiative.
A number of UN offices around the world are also marking the day.
Further information, photos, videos and other resources:
Martina Donlon, UN Department of Public Information, +1 212 963 6816, email@example.com
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the Google Cultural Institute have worked together to bring Nelson Mandela's archive's online, including never before seen photos, prison diaries and a hand-written sequel to the Long Walk to Freedom.