In South Africa Nelson Mandela led a social movement that brought about political and social change when the new government took over from the apartheid government. After the 1994 elections the new government was faced with obligations to address inequalities and injustice perpetuated by the past government. South Africans became optimistic that the new government will bring about changes that will address social inequalities in the country, by the introduction of policies such as the Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) which was meant to address housing and economic inequalities (Seekings, 2010). The 1996 census statistics showed that 56.9% of black people did not have proper housing, which means that they either lived in shacks or inappropriate shelters, which is what the new government had to change (Nnadozie, 2013). Nelson Mandela led such programs to ensure that the lives of the previously disadvantaged masses changed for the better and that they are enabled to build an excellent society.
Nelson Mandela is an international symbol of justice and peace. After leaving office he continued to uplift the lives of ordinary South Africans, he traveled all over the world collecting funds to establish the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital which is due to function soon as the biggest children hospital in Africa. He also traveled with the former President of the United States of America Bill Clinton, with the intention to make other world leaders aware of the importance of collective aggressive action against HIV and AIDS.
To continue the work done by Nelson Mandela the United Nations declared the 18th of July Nelson Mandela International day in 2009 as a strategy to encourage humanitarian work internationally. The concept of Mandela Day was established on Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July. This concept, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, aims to call on all South Africans and the international community to “take responsibility for making the world a better place, one small step at a time, just as Nelson Mandela did.”
The tradition of Nelson Mandela day includes performing a humanitarian act for 67 minutes which represents the number of years Nelson Mandela spent as a political activist fighting against a racist and unjust political and social system and as a humanitarian. The Nelson Mandela Founding encourages people to give their time to community projects that are essential to building or making the lives of the disadvantaged better. The foundation submits that the day is a “call to action by NGOs, business and government, with affected communities to improve living conditions. At global level, ‘change’ can be action towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and other UN goals.”