File image.
File image.

Mandela Day: What we can do

By Editorial Time of article published Jul 4, 2020

Share this article:

This month we celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday under unique circumstances - a global pandemic that has seriously constrained the very freedom of movement and association our nation’s founding father, Nelson Mandela, foreswore for 27 years to win for us.

We are enjoined to make every July Mandela month, to volunteer our services to do something for the community or the less fortunate - for only 67 minutes if that’s all we can manage.

It will be difficult this year to do what we have done in years gone by because of the restrictions, but there are many other ways we can commemorate him.

For a start, we can really start caring for one another; not virtue signalling on Facebook or putting on a T-shirt or, spare us, a specially branded Mandela Day mask.

We can start by appreciating the country we live in and the leadership we have enjoyed during the Covid-19 crisis, from our president to our health minister.

We can take a moment to reflect on the sense of purpose that has united so many South Africans to finally and truly make a difference to bridge the yawning inequalities, which has not just been exposed but has widened during the lockdown.

The months that lie ahead will not be easy; the corporate graveyard is filling up, the legion of jobless people is getting larger and the state’s ability to give succour to the most vulnerable is being stretched to the core. Those who can have to do more; literally each one feed one.

How would Mandela have handled the coronavirus crisis? His recorded quotes give us an idea: “It always looks impossible until it is done”, and “Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the conquering of it”.

These are unprecedented times, terrifying too.

Mandela’s times were even worse on a far more personal level, but he never lost sight of the goal.

Nor should we.

The Saturday Star

Share this article: