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Nelson Mandela stands for Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the national anthem.
Keith Bernstein Photography
Demand Equity

3 Ways You Can Show Up on Mandela Day 2020 Without Leaving Your House

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Nelson Mandela is respected and renowned for inspiring hope in South Africa and across the world, and for using his influence and power to help uplift marginalised communities and fight for the human rights for all people. Mandela Day honours his memory by encouraging citizens to spend 67 minutes in service of others. You can join us here in taking actions that promote equality and the rights of girls, women, children, and other marginalised people.

Nelson Mandela was not just South Africa’s first democratically elected president. He was a global statesman whose counsel was relied upon to help end wars around Africa and promote peace and justice globally.

However, it’s his generosity to others that has become most closely associated with his legacy. 

Nelson Mandela used his voice to call on world leaders to end the systemic causes of poverty, and often lent his name to global fundraising initiatives that supported organisations promoting children’s and women’s rights, youth empowerment, and access to education and health care.

“Poverty,” Mandela said in an impassioned speech in 2005, “is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” 

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity,” he continued. “It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.” 

Mandela’s call to action is as important today as it was then. Communities around the world have been affected by COVID-19, which has left millions of people in need of social security and support.

COVID-19 lockdowns, however, have also made it impossible to show up on Mandela Day by renovating community properties like schools and clinics, reading for children, and other ways in which South Africans traditionally honour Mandela Day — held on Mandela’s birthday, July 18, every year.

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The idea of Mandela Day is to encourage and inspire citizens to spend 67 minutes in service of their communities — one minute for every year that Mandela spent fighting for the rights of humanity. 

Here are three ways you can still show up for your community — while observing COVID-19 health guidance — to mark Mandela Day 2020.

1.  #Each1Feed1

COVID-19 is more than a public health issue. It has also impacted employment and food security through job losses and loss of income as a result of lockdown restrictions.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation launched the #Each1Feed1 campaign in March, to support individuals and families that are facing hunger.

“The idea is for all South Africans to contribute to a food distribution network by donating to the foundation. With our partners, we will be distributing food hampers to support families for a minimum of three months,” the foundation says on its website.

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The food hampers will be distributed in various communities across the country, to support families in accessing healthy and nutritious food throughout the pandemic. The campaign is looking to raise R500,000 in donations from the public, and has so far raised just over R180,000.

To date, more than 9,100 parcels containing essential food and menstrual products have been distributed — impacting over 36,400 lives, according to the foundation. Among the vulnerable groups of people who have benefitted are child-headed households, people living with disabilities, and asylum seekers.

You don’t, however, need to have money to support #Each1Feed1. You can also help support with distributions, or help feed someone in your community by reporting their case to the foundation.

For more information about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit the website here.

2. Donate clothes, food, and other essential items

To commemorate Youth Day in South Africa, on June 16, a group of business school colleagues came together to launch the Sekela Foundation

“With the global pandemic and the various economic challenges that South Africa is facing, we believe that there are multiple needs that can be addressed in different communities.  We would like to use our skills and talents as a collective, to do what we can and assist where we can,” said the foundation, in a statement shared with Global Citizen. 

At the moment, the foundation’s work is providing COVID-19 relief and support to local charities.

“Our long-term vision is to focus on more sustainable initiatives and be involved in SME [small and medium sized enterprises] support, [and] youth education with a focus on job creation, through mentoring and skills sharing," their statement added.

As part of its Mandela Day appeal, the Sekela Foundation is seeking financial donations. It's also collecting anything that offers relief to others, including second-hand clothing for all ages, nappies, baby food, hygiene products and toiletries, hand sanitiser, food items, and more. 

You can find out more about the Sekela Foundation's work, its Mandela Day appeal, and how you can get involved here

3. Help protect vulnerable communities from COVID-19

Coronavirus affects all of us, and the only way to defeat the virus is through united actions that ensure that everyone, including people in the world’s most marginalised communities, have access to COVID-19 testing and treatments, and that once a vaccination has been developed it will be distributed fairly.

COVID-19 has changed life for everyone, but it has especially affected the poorest and most vulnerable across the world.

This Mandela Day, you can join us by taking action to help ensure that COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines are made available to everyone — and to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on vulnerable communities. 

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Through the actions of Global Citizens, the “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future” campaign and global event mobilised more than $6.9 billion to support COVID-19 relief efforts. 

These commitments from world leaders, philanthropists, and corporations, will help to provide equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, as well as support for the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.  

But there is much more still to do in this effort — and you can support this vital work by taking actions that support the global response to COVID-19, including equitable access to vaccines, here.