This past Monday was the 98th birthday of Nelson Mandela. Mandela was an internationally known and respected human rights activist who fought against apartheid in South Africa. He dedicated 67 years of his life to fighting for his country’s freedom. Before serving as South Africa’s first Black president and receiving the Noble Peace Prize, he was charged with trying to overthrow the country’s racist apartheid government and incarcerated. He spent 27 years in prison on the notorious Robben Island.
Because of what Mandela stood for, his people never stopped supporting him and wanted him free. Eventually, he was freed and lived the rest of his life in Johannesburg.
In 2009, Mandela’s birthday was declared Mandela Day. On this day, people are asked to dedicate 67 minutes to community service. The 67 minutes represent the 67 years Mandela spent fighting for his people’s rights.
Mandela Day is celebrated globally. In Bedford Stuyvesant, City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy’s office held the third annual Nelson Mandela Day at the Boys and Girls High School. At this event were cultural performances by the Asase Yaa and Dwana Smallwood centers, special presentations and a dance party.
But community service shouldn’t happen just on Mandela Day. We should join organizations and always be involved with our communities.