It’s in your hands – Nelson Mandela International Day 2013 launch

Popular TV personality Bonang Matheba was one of the local celebrities who spoke at the launch event

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 saw the launch of the fourth Nelson Mandela International Day at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Unanimously adopted in 2009 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday is an annual call to action to people everywhere to contribute to the global movement for good by effecting change within their community.

“Today represents the beginning of the 2013 march towards 18 July,” said Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, as he welcomed members of the Mandela family, representatives of the UN, representatives of local government, foreign diplomats, partner organisations, celebrities and members of the media.

Achmat Dangor, the outgoing CEO of the Centre, remembered the genesis of Mandela Day.

“It happened in 2008, at the Hyde Park concert in London that celebrated Madiba’s 90th birthday,” he said.

“Madiba, as was his way, would read the speech written for him and then set it aside. Addressing 50 000 people gathered at the park and a television audience of millions, Madiba started changing the words of his speech. Instead of saying ‘doing good for people’, he changed it to ‘people doing good’. He changed the slogan ‘its in our hands’, saying to the world ‘it’s in your hands’.”

When asked later whether he had made a mistake, Mr Mandela reiterated that he was giving the world a message. It was time for the next generation to take responsibility.

Today, the Mandela Day campaign is a global movement for good in Nelson Mandela’s name.

Click here to continue reading about the launch of Nelson Mandela International Day.

Click here to view a gallery of images of the event.