South Africa’s president said Tuesday that many years after his passing, Nelson Mandela’s legacy continues to live on across the world.
Speaking at the unveiling of a Mandela statue in the Eastern Cape Province, Cyril Ramaphosa said Mandela’s contribution to South Africa was far from a modest one.
“He led our nation to freedom, and even today, many years since his passing, his legacy lives on,” Ramaphosa said.
The South African leader on Tuesday travelled to Mandela’s rural home where he unveiled two statues of the global icon as part of International Nelson Mandela Day, celebrated every year on July 18. It was officially endorsed by the United Nations in 2009 to celebrate the global icon’s birthday for his service to humanity.
Millions of South Africans on Tuesday spared 67 minutes of their time doing acts of kindness in their communities as part of making the world a better place in honor of the late iconic statesman.
Mandela, who served as South Africa’s first democratically elected president for one term from 1994 to 1999, taught the world to forgive, reconcile, and share with the less fortunate.
Although he served 27 years in prison for opposing the white minority rule in South Africa, when he took the highest office he did not seek vengeance against his tormenters.
Ramaphosa said Mandela built bridges of peace and reconciliation and mobilized the people of the world to fight social injustice and oppression.
“Let us strive to emulate his example today, and every day,” he said.
Ordinary South Africans cleaned streets and donated blankets, jackets, sweaters, and other items to the less fortunate.
“I distributed hot meals to homeless people in the Johannesburg city center in memory of Tata Mandela,” Nurdieen Ali told Anadolu, using a local isiXhosa word meaning father.
Deputy President Paul Mashatile and his delegation planted 12 vegetable beds at the Morris Isaacson High School in Jabavu, Johannesburg to encourage students to maintain vegetable gardens at their schools and homes.
In the Mpumalanga province, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the Turkish state aid agency, planted trees at two schools in honor of Mandela.
Many South Africans call Mandela the “father of the nation” for resisting apartheid. Mandela, who died in December 2013, would have turned 100 years today.