Mandela Day


Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s  birthday on 18 July, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly.

It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”.

It is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy. It is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.

The message behind Mandela Day is simple – each individual has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better. If each one of us heeded the call to simply do good every day, we would be living Nelson Mandela’s legacy and helping to build a country of our dreams. The baton of leadership has been handed over to us. It is in our hands now to make a positive difference.

mandela day

Nelson Mandela followed three rules throughout his life, which he did at great personal sacrifice: 1. Free yourself. 2. Free others. 3. Serve every day.

Mandela Day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the formidable footsteps of Madiba, a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. Its objective is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better and in so doing, to build a global movement for good.

The question we must ask ourselves is what we are doing to make the world a better place; what are we doing to make every day a Mandela Day?

Find out more about what Mandela Day is, and what it isn’t. View the Mandela Day Ethical Framework.

For the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Mandela Day actions, no matter how big or small, should consistently focus on the realisation or restoration of dignity and empowerment through contributions. For the Foundation the following focus areas have particular significance: Food Security, Education & Literacy, Shelter & Infrastructure and Service & Volunteerism. See details.


By devoting 67 minutes of your time – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – you can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good. What can I do? 


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