World Celebrates Mandela Day

Nelson Mandel MuralVOA News – This year’s Nelson Mandela Day, which will be celebrated on Friday, is the first time the day will be observed since the death of the South African leader last December at the age of 95.

In November 2009, the United Nations declared July 18 – Mandela’s birthday – to be Nelson Mandela Day.

Since then, millions of people around the world have marked the day by volunteering 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s struggle for equality – to do charitable work.

South African President Jacob Zuma has called on his country’s citizens to honor Mandela this year by cleaning up their surroundings. He said that working together to “build their beautiful country” is what Mandela taught South Africans to do.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier this week Mandela Day is a “call to action.” He said everyone can help to celebrate the day by “helping to address real problems” in their communities.

Nelson Mandela went to prison for 27 years for his opposition to South Africa’s racist apartheid regime. He emerged in 1990 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in the nation’s first democratic, all-race elections.

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