The Nelson Mandela Foundation ordinarily marks the anniversary of Madiba’s passing through a dialogue on issues with a deep impact on society. In December last year, following the twentieth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, delivered by Prime Minister of Barbados, Her Excellency Mia Mottley, the Foundation opted to commemorate Madiba’s legacy through community action grounded in climate justice.
The Mandela Day team in partnership, with the Dialogue and Advocacy Team, Joburg City Parks and Zoo, Green Development Foundation, Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Coca-Cola SA, Meals on Wheels, Ukhozi Fm and many other stakeholders, hosted the successful launch of the Nelson Mandela Remembrance Park in the community of Riverlea, south of Johannesburg. The Park was opened as a memorial in honour of Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the values that he espoused. Together with our partners, we planted 70 fruit and indigenous trees in and around the park. Community members were also gifted with seed packs from Reel Gardening which are cost-effective seeds that can be planted year-round, and each pack contains four varieties of vegetable seed types.
After the tree-planting activities of the day, a mural of Madiba now stands in the park with the quote:
“The right to a healthy environment is a crucial human right because it directly impacts our quality of life. Often, the most vulnerable suffer most in the face of environmental abuse.”
The Nelson Mandela Remembrance Park in Riverlea has been established with the mutual agreement that the community will be champions of the park, and that it now belongs to the community and is their collaborative responsibility to ensure that it thrives and gives community members everything it was designed to. Along with the tree planting initiative, we have committed with our partners to a revamp of two community gardens - one based in Wilhelmina Hoskins Primary School and the other a local community centre - which will take place over 2023.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has kick-started its 2023 Mandela Day activities through its continued focus on sustainable partnerships, community engagement and meaningful participation. This has been a continued focus on the impact of the Climate Crisis and its intersections with food security challenges impacting many people in South Africa and the world.
The Mandela Day team, on the 24th and 26th of January 2023, along with Ikwekwezi FM,, travelled to two schools based in Mpumalanga, Thokozani Senior Phase and Siphethu Full-service School to handover school shoes, books, reel gardening tool kits and sanitary products. This initiative is a multi-stakeholder effort which includes the Green Development Foundation, Joburg City Parks and Zoos, Imbumba Foundation, and the Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries. The donations were handed to these schools to ensure a smooth start to the learners’ academic year. The day saw a symbolic tree planting and a further donation of 27 trees to the Thokozani Senior Phase School as part of the Nelson Mandela Day 1 million trees and Legacy Garden campaign.
Looking ahead to 2023, during the tenth anniversary of Madiba’s passing, the Mandela Day Team wishes to take inspiration from the 46664 campaign and re-ignite global commitment to combating global climate change and food insecurity, under the clarion call of “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!”