By Lerato Ndlovu
The world today celebrates life of the late icon and South Africa’s former president, Nelson Mandela paying tribute to his acclaimed extraordinary global advocacy for equality, dignity and solidarity.
United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres in his statement applauded Mandela his legacy describing him as a moral giant.
Mandela day is running under the theme “Take action, inspire change”.
“Madiba was a moral giant of the 20th century, whose timeless legacy continues to guide us today, therefore showing the theme for this international day “Take action, inspire change”.
“It highlights the importance of working together, from governments to citizens, to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world”.
In regards to the global challenge he alluded that leaders around the world need to recognize the importance of unity and solidarity.
“We mark this day at a time when the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic endangers everyone, everywhere, and especially the most vulnerable.
“In the face of these challenges, world leaders need to recognize the vital importance of unity and solidarity. COVID-19 is exposing deep inequalities, we need to fight this pandemic of inequality through a new social contract for a new era.
“Only together can we fend off the common threat of COVID and recover better”.
The United Nations is set to celebrate its 75th anniversary this year in October, Guterres stated that the world should quest for a better future and a healthy planet.
“As the United Nations marks its 75th anniversary in this fragile time, we reflect on the life and work of Nelson Mandela, who embodied the highest values of the United Nations and who took action and inspired change.
“Despite many years as a prisoner of conscience, Madiba retained his dignity and commitment to his ideals, let his example propel any governments that keep such prisoners to release them, there should be no prisoners of conscience in the 21st century.
“Nelson Mandela reminded us that: “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest”, on this Mandela Day, let us recall that we can, and must, be part of the quest for a better future of dignity, opportunity and prosperity for all people on a healthy planet.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the enormous fragility of our world and laid bare the risks and dangers we have ignored for decades: inadequate health systems; gaps in social protection; structural inequalities; systems built on accumulation with no respect for planetary limits or future generations”.
To celebrate this day the UN will host a virtual 18th Nelson Mandela annual lecture with the theme “Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era”, which aims to explore inequality that people exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, outlining the threat posed to our well-being and our future by historic injustices and current trends, from colonialism and patriarchy to racism and the digital divide, and make concrete recommendations for a more equitable, just and sustainable way forward in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
This day was put on the international calender in 2009 in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom, it recognizes Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in: conflict resolution; race relations; promotion and protection of human rights; reconciliation; gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups; the fight against poverty; the promotion of social justice.
The resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.