Mandela day is an annual event named after Nelson Mandela and is designed to encourage everyone to action against poverty. The theme for 2023 is “IT IS IN YOUR HANDS”. Nelson Mandela, in addressing the scourge of poverty, suffering and deprivation, said: “It is in your hands to make our world a better one for all, especially the poor, vulnerable and marginalised.”

For many South Africans, 18 July is one of the most special and inspirational days of the year. Established in 2009, Mandela Day honours the legacy of Nelson Mandela (who spent 67 years fighting for human rights) by asking South Africans to dedicate 67 minutes to making a difference in their communities. Mandela day was founded on the principle that we can all give a little bit of our time to have a positive effect on the life of someone else. We can all make a difference in our community and help change the world for the better.

For young people, the day is more than a history lesson on this great leader. It is an opportunity to learn how to be active citizens and see how even seemingly small acts of generosity can bring about meaningful change.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made for the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Mr Mandela truly lived by this quote if you look at the little girl that suffered from a rare medical condition causing facial nerve paralysis.  She was unable to smile and had speech obstacles.  Her mother sought help from the late Mr Mandela, who made a call that would help secure surgery for this young girl and as a result thereof also countless other children to come.  4000 Disadvantaged children with facial abnormalities received corrective plastic and reconstructive surgery too date. 

This year, IMATU commemorates Mandela Day as follows:

The Cape Metropolitan Region will provide a monetary donation to the Fikelela Children’s Centre. The Centre is an outreach programme of the Fikelela Aids Project, situated in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha and serves the area of the Western Cape.

The Western Cape Region will contribute to AHOS (Athlone House of Strength shelter), by giving toiletries for women, babies and children as well as school accessories/ stationery for the children. In addition, the Region will also contribute to the Haven Night Shelter situated in Paarl, by providing soup ingredients and blankets.

The eThekwini Region identified the Udumo Primary School in Claremont, Durban as the recipient for their initiative this year. The school has approximately 710 learners and runs a feeding programme with limited resources and equipment. The Region will provide much needed kitchen equipment and cutlery, such as a 3 Plate Gas Burner, Gas Cylinder, cooking pots, plates, cutting boards, chopping knives, serving spoons and plastic dishes.

The KwaZulu Natal Region identified Arise and Shine Ministry and Orphanage / Care Center as an organisation that has been doing great work through its feeding scheme in the Empangeni Area. The organisation is set up as an orphanage for abandoned children and provides hot meals to 60 to 70 impoverished children living in the area on a daily basis. The Region will prove items to assist in their feeding programme, such as large pots, serving spoons, plates, cups, cutting boards, plastic serving dish and chopping knives.

The Gauteng Region will provide a monetary amount to MES (Mould Empower Serve), a shelter for the homeless in Kempton Park.

In the Free State Region, the Dihlabeng Branch will  provide soup and bread to creches in Bethlehem. The Mangaung Branch will be visiting the Tlhabologo Day Care Centre in Soutpan, which provides care and education to toddlers aged zero months to five years. The Branch will help establish a sick bay and tile one classroom floor.

North West Region will provide toiletries to the Rethabile Children’s Home situated in 

Tshwane Region will support the Tshwaraleng House situated in the Nellmapius settlement in Mamelodi, which is a safehouse for orphans and provides meals and homework assistance for the children. Several items will be provided, including school stationery, blankets for each child and groceries.

Eastern Cape Region will provide monetary amounts to the Home of Joy for Children in the Makana Branch situated in Grahamstown; the MTR Smit Children’s Haven situated in Gqeberha as well as the Society Hope Organisation situated in the Mbashe municipal area.

Johannesburg Region provided monetary amounts to the Loerie Jeugsentrum.

Mpumalanga Region provided monetary amounts to the Highveld House Orphanage situated in the Emalahleni municipal area.

The National Office will hand over 300 primary school classroom chairs to the Kaalfontein Primary School situated in Midrand.