– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase
Mandela Day is commemorated on the 18th of July every year in honour of the legacy of the late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela fought for the preservation of human rights during the Apartheid era and encouraged reconciliation post-1994. The grace he exhibited upon being released from prison is to be admired. On Mandela Day, citizens should continue to strive to achieve the goals he strived to achieve of making this country a better place for all.
South Africa has faced many challenges through the decades. Last year, we experienced nationwide riots and looting which crippled many businesses and individuals. More recently, there has been flooding in KwaZulu-Natal that left its residents devastated. According to Bloomberg, the death toll is over 450, and many people have been reported or are still missing. Thousands of families have been displaced, particularly in the eThekwini region. Many people have lost their homes as well as their belongings and need assistance. They are suffering as a result of issues that are beyond their control. It is therefore imperative for us to remember the essence of ‘ubuntu’ during this season.
During this tough time, we need to emphasise the importance of helping one another as a society. We are able to contribute to bringing about positive change in our communities through these actions. A pandemic, civil unrest, and natural disaster have exposed our shortcomings as a society. Mandela Day allows us to reflect and reminds us of the role we have to play in our communities by keeping the 67 minutes legacy alive amidst the chaos. Throughout adversity, it is encouraged to find the goodness within ourselves. We should remember Mandela’s legacy of gratitude, commitment, and hope for a better country and for our fellow South Africans.