Nelson Mandela inaugurated Nelson Mandela International Day in 2009 as a response to what he saw as a global crisis of poverty and inequality. Today, Covid-19 has brutally exposed the deep inequality in most societies and is thrusting millions more around the world into poverty.
Here in South Africa, many people are starving. This is why the Nelson Mandela Foundation has set up Each1Feed1 in partnership with the Siya Kolisi Foundation and the Imbumba Foundation, which seeks to meet the immediate needs of society’s most vulnerable – for instance, child-headed households, the elderly, refugees and those in deep rural areas. This is a core Mandela Day programme for us.
Emergency relief should be a priority for all South Africans, but we need to be thinking about longer term needs too. Addressing food insecurity will require public policy changes, innovative thinking on how to support small-scale food producers, the development of more efficient access and delivery systems, and the fostering of cultures of home and school gardening.
Last year we adopted five focus areas for the Mandela Day campaign: Shelter, Education, Food & Nutrition, Sanitation and Active Citizenry. COVID-19 has heightened the significance of all these areas. For Mandela Day 2020 we are asking people - in their organisations, their workplaces, their families and in their private capacities - to support in practical ways, big or small, a family facing challenges in these areas. For that one family it could mean the difference between coping and not coping in these Winter months. We are also calling on local government officials to stop authorising evictions.
Mandela Day is all about getting out and into communities, doing hard work, and engaging with people. However, given COVID-19, we discourage activities which could spread the virus. We urge everyone to follow social distancing and other practices designed to protect people.
These are not easy times. As Madiba did in 2009, we urge everyone to respond to the immediate needs within their communities, as best they can. The purpose of freedom is to make freedom for others. Let’s make Mandela Day 2020 a special one.
#ActionAgainstPoverty Take Action. Inspire Change. Make Every Day A Mandela Day. MandelaDay.com
For Media Enquires:
Spokesperson: Nelson Mandela Foundation
+27 (0)82 994 0349