The United Nations General Assembly has set aside 18 July to honor and celebrate the contributions of Nelson Mandela Day to world freedom. The day in July was chosen because it is Nelson Mandela’s birthday. Bill Clinton, former United States President and Former South African Presidents, F W De Klerk and Thabo Mbeki, gave their backing for the UN’s recognition of Mandela Day.
The declaration of Nelson Mandela Day was introduced by South African Ambassador Baso Sangqu who described Mandela as an icon and a symbol of hope whose life mirrored United Nations’ ideals.
According to Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, Libyan diplomat and UN General Assembly president said the move showed the United Nations’ attachment to freedom. Charity groups associated with the former South African leader have long been campaigning for such a day to be set aside.
Former US President Bill Clinton was among those who gave their backing for the UN’s recognition of 18 July as Mandela Day. “We each owe it to him to support his work and legacy by doing and living our own as best we can, not just on this day, but throughout our entire lives,” Mr. Clinton was quoted as saying.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation and 46664 hosted events on 18 July, and advocated that the date be marked every year. The group said they wanted the day to inspire people to embrace Mr. Mandela’s values and improve their lives through service to their communities.
The charity 46664 – which is the number Mr. Mandela wore while he was in prison – was formed to increase awareness of HIV/Aids. Mandela who turned 91 earlier this year spent more than six decades as an activist said it would be honorable if the day brought people around the world together to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation.
Nelson Mandela has often been paid tributes for his promotion of peace and reconciliation.
“After his inauguration, Nelson Mandela used his personal charm to promote reconciliation and to mould our widely diverse communities into an emerging multicultural nation. This, I believe, will be seen as his greatest legacy,” said F W De Klerk, former South African president.
“The legacy of your struggle leaves future generations of South Africans with a freedom their ancestors could only dream of. Your charities will continue to give them a real chance for a brighter, healthier future – and the power of your example provides people everywhere with a source of strength on their own long walks to freedom,” said Bill Clinton, former U.S. president.
“His life and work have served as an embodiment of what human beings should be, in themselves and to others,” said Thabo Mbeki, former South African president.
“Nelson Mandela is a leader no prison cell, no intimidation, no threat could silence. A man whose belief in the future was so powerful that not even 27 years behind bars and barbed wire could destroy his dream that millions could be free,” said Gordon Brown, British prime minister.