Long live the spirit of Madiba

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

LONG live the spirit of Man­dela, long live! This is the com­ment from one of our read­ers when asked why they think we should cel­e­brate Man­dela Day. To­mor­row, on what would have been Madiba’s 99th birth­day, South Africans have been urged to fo­cus their ef­forts on the fight against poverty, with the theme be­ing #Ac­tionA­gain­stPoverty.

What Man­dela Day does is of­fer a unique op­por­tu­nity for or­di­nary peo­ple to do some­thing for others less for­tu­nate. The fo­cus the day pro­vides, and the col­lec­tive na­ture of the acts of kind­ness per­formed, is what counts.

Ef­forts of cor­po­rates, NGOs, churches and in­di­vid­u­als, en­cour­aged by the con­cept of giv­ing 67 min­utes, cre­ate a snow­ball ef­fect, as one sees tens of thou­sands of food ham­pers dis­trib­uted, school fa­cil­i­ties im­proved, vegetable gar­dens planted, and par­ties with cake, games and gifts bring­ing plea­sure to chil­dren for whom this is a rare treat.

Man­dela Day is about the re­cip­i­ents, but it is also about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the re­wards of get­ting in­volved with others, in reach­ing out to those to whom we may not or­di­nar­ily give much thought.

No mat­ter how small or big your plans, we en­cour­age you to take time out from your nor­mal sched­ule to­mor­row to give thought to what Man­dela meant as a true ser­vant of the pub­lic, and play a part in show­ing com­pas­sion in a prac­ti­cal way.

Man­dela Day 2017 draws at­ten­tion to just one of the prob­lems fac­ing our so­ci­ety – that of poverty – and those with the means should be will­ing to as­sist in help­ing to meet the ba­sic needs of others.

Ob­vi­ously, last­ing so­lu­tions will not be achieved in a day, but that shouldn’t stop us from start­ing to al­le­vi­ate the sit­u­a­tion now. Whether you are plan­ning to pack food, col­lect cloth­ing, make re­pairs to a school or host a party, do it with pride and plea­sure in Man­dela’s name.

Next year marks the cen­te­nary of Man­dela’s birth and, as our reader said: Long live the spirit of Man­dela, long live!

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