Today is Nelson Mandela International Day, also known as Nelson Mandela Day and/or Mandela Day. In 2009, the United Nations officially declared July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day, an annual event that not only commemorates Nelson Mandela's birth, but his extraordinary body of work and life. Mandela Day inspires and encourages young and old alike from all over the world and "Take Action, Inspire Change: Make Every Day a Mandela Day."
Born in South Africa on July 18, 1918, Nelson R. Mandela spent the majority of his life, 67 years of it, in public service. He led a movement against apartheid and was eventually imprisoned from 1964 to 1982 to the notorious Robben Island in South Africa. During his imprisonment, he was known as the "most significant black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength."
Mandela was finally released from prison on February 11, 1990. He went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 but shared it with the man who released him, President Frederik Willem de Klerk. In 1994, Mandela became South Africa's first democratically elected President. After struggling with ill health, Nelson Mandela died in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013. His legacy lives on.
In honor of the annual event, people around the world are encouraged to donate 67 minutes of their time helping others. Whether you are a business, organization or individual, everyone is encouraged to participate in Mandela Day on this day of action. Mandela devoted 67 years helping others – can you spare 67 minutes of your time today?