South African consulate, partners celebrate Mandela in Nigeria
Every year, the International Mandela Day is celebrated to make a difference by encouraging people to devote 67 minutes of their time to undertake tasks that would bring joy and relief to the needy in the communities, thus contributing towards changing the world for better.
And this year, being the centenary edition, the celebration was grand.
In Lagos, the South African Mission, in partnership with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), on Monday, hosted a lecture at the Nigeria Institute of Internationa Affairs (NIIA).
The event also featured a symposium, film screening and photo exhibitions that showcased the life and times of Madiba.
In attendance were representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including Initiatives for Sustaining Gender Empowerment (ISGEM), African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention (AYICRIP), as well as university and high school students who were conducted round the exhibition and treated to very instructive presentations and lessons on Mandela’s leadership.
Meanwhile, the South African Consulate has collaborated with the Mandela Gardens in Asaba, Delta State, to plant five new trees, adding to 95 trees to make a total of 100 trees in the Garden.
This is part of the activities to mark Mandela’s Centenary
“We discovered that the Delta State Government had built a garden in Asaba, which they named Nelson Mandela Garden.
It had 95 tree to represent Mandela at 95, bust as part of the centenary, we decided to partner with them to plant five more tree at the garden, which will represent 100 years of Mandela.
This was part of 67 minutes charity work and we also handed over food parcels at an orphanage in Asaba,” South African Cosul-General, Darkey Africa, said.
Describing Mandela as a symbol of the struggle against apartheid and all forms of racism, the Consul-General said Mandela would have been 100 years should he had been alive today.
“Mandela has been called a freedom fighter, a great man, a global icon and a living legend amongst other countless other names.
He has been an activist, a political prisoner, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, an international peacemaker and statesman, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner,” Africa said at a media briefing held in Lagos to herald the celebation.
As a husband and a father, he noted, Mandela sacrificed the joys of family life and of seeing his children grow up.
“As a young man, he missed out on a normal life spent with family and friends and pursuing a career of his choice, to fight for the cause he unshakably stood for.
Most ordinary South Africans knew little about Mandela during his prison years, as the apartheid government suppressed information, and what was released was biased.
Limited information about Mandela was available from the international press, anti-apartheid activist groups and the Free Nelson Mandela campaign,” he said.
But prison bars could not prevent him from continuing to inspire his people to struggle and sacrifice for their liberation.
Public opinion polls repeatedly showed that he was the most popular leader the country has ever had.
“As the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group observed in 1986, he had become ‘a living legend’, galvanising the resistance in his country.
He is the most honoured political prisoner in history.
He has received prestigious international awards, the freedom of many cities and honorary degrees from several universities.”
Meanwhile, many musicians have been inspired to compose songs and music in his honour and major international art exhibits have been dedicated to Mandela and some of the most prominent writers have contributed to books for him and about him; even an atomic particle has been named after him.
“Mandela is a universal symbol of freedom and reconciliation, an icon representing the triumph of the human spirit.
During his lifetime he not only dedicated himself to the struggle of the African people, but with his humility, and his spirit of forgiveness, he captured hearts and inspired people all over the world.
As South Africans, we owe it to this great champion of our nation to continue to live by his example,” Africa said.
To Mr. Africa, celebrating Mandela Centenary provides a unique opportunity for people around the world to not only reflect on Mandela’ life and times, but also to uphold values and principles that he steadfastly stood for, including his vision of a democratic, just and equitable society.
“The United Nations General Assembly in 2009 declared 18th of July as the International Nelson Mandela Day (Mandela Day).
This was in recognition of his dedication to the service of humanity.
In 2015 the UN General Assembly adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and approved that they will be called the Nelson Mandela Rules.
The UN General Assembly acknowledged personal attributes of Nelson Mandela notably, his generosity of spirit, tolerance and capacity to forgive personal pains for common good and generally his dedication to the pursuit of mutual acceptance and culture of peace among people and the promotion of democracy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, on Tuesday, unveiled the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition in Southbank, London, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chatted with Mandela’s granddaughter, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela at the event marking 100 years since the late freedom fighter was born.
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