It is July 18th and I am excited by all the build up to the Nelson Mandela International Day of service which is celebrated annually on this day: his birthday.
I am encouraged to see how much the day has grown and the plethora of programs and initiatives that ordinary people will be participating in. From community clean up projects, mobile soup kitchens, school visits, nature conservation; the list is long. People are becoming more creative in finding ways to give back.
We all know that NMD should be every day and there is a need to institutionalize community service as part of our nation building project and to get us out of our own heads and comfort zones. Our part of the 67 minutes is a right step in getting us to live for and support a good Cause.
But I must say that this year I am particularly touched by the cause of young people in South Africa. I will elaborate in another blog post. However, just to paint you a picture, the past few years have been rough for the youth. Unemployment has risen starkly, drug and alcohol addiction is taking root, exorbitant fees are hindering access to higher education and now new stats have come out that young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are once again facing the biggest brunt of new HIV infections. sigh!
So I am hoping that if many of us start living for a Cause and not just for the Applause of a 67 minutes, there is a chance to turn things around for the better.
As a country and people committed to the ethos of Ubuntu, we can’t ignore the plight and voices of young people anymore. NM day should be a springboard for sustainable efforts to advance the cause of young people by giving them the resources and opportunities that will enable them to be scriptwriters of their destiny.
I am thinking of ways that I can contribute to these efforts.
To everyone who will be brightening up their corner anywhere in the world: Long live to the spirit of serving humanity and making every day a Nelson Mandela Day in any small way we can.