Celebrate his legacy

Nelson Mandela, photographed 7 July 2008, during a function launching a R5 coin issued to celebrate his 90th birthday, in Johannesburg. Five million coins, featuring a smiling portrait of the former president, will go into circulation on Friday, 18 July 2008, as part of Madiba's official birthday celebrations. Picture by Michel Bega

July 18 has been declared Nelson Mandela International Day, but as South Africans we embrace the chance to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life for the whole of July.

This gives everyone the opportunity to heed the call to action for people to recognise their individual power to make an imprint and change the world around them.

A global movement for positive change begins with small actions. As each person acts, they fuel momentum toward positive change, raising awareness and expanding the reach of Madiba’s values, fighting injustice, helping people in need and practicing reconciliation.

Here are some ideas on how you can contribute:

* Contact your local HIV organisation and find out how you can help.

* Help out at your local hospice.

* Many terminally ill people have no friends or family who can visit them. Take a little time to have a chat and find out what they need.

* Donate toys to the children’s ward at your local hospital.

* Tutor kids in a school subject you are good at.

* Donate your old computer to a school.

* Donate books to a school.

Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994. As a champion of reconciliation, he was instrumental in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up by South Africa’s Government of National Unity to help deal with the atrocities of apartheid.

Before his presidency, Mandela was heavily involved in anti-apartheid activities. He served 27 years in prison, many of which were spent with other sentenced freedom fighters.

While officially retired, he continued to voice his opinion on topical humanitarian issues and campaigns globally for peace, children and the fight against HIV and AIDS.

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