Happy Birthday Mandela! Nelson Mandela turned 95 today.
Since arriving in South Africa a few weeks ago, he has been on everyone’s minds as he was admitted to hospital due to a sever illness. Every day the news reporters would read out his current state of health, how many days he had been in hospital, what the doctors and his family were saying. So many people held vigils outside of the hospital praying for the man who gave so much of his life to so many others. Since moving to South Africa, I’ve come to really understand more than ever what this one man represents for a country and for the world. He signifies democracy, freedom and equality. This morning it was reported that Madiba had the biggest smile on his face when his daughter came to visit him on his birthday.
Since 2009, Nelson Mandela’s birthday has been declared Mandela Day both locally and internationally. Locals are encouraged to donate 67 minutes – one minute for every year of Mandela’s service – of their time to volunteer and take action, to create a sustainable and empowering movement. Our group from bootcamp donated foodstuffs and clothes to an orphanage that takes care of babies and young children who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. I couldn’t believe the amount of food that our small group brought together for this one orphanage. Imagine what the whole country is able to bring together. As we were doing our early morning workout, we noticed the group of kids from the neighbouring school was larger this morning than it usually ever is. Teachers and school children were gathering to hold hands and sing happy birthday to Madiba. We dropped our weights and followed suit. shedding tears for the man who had brought this country together. We held hands and bowed our heads, for 67 seconds we closed our eyes and sent thoughts and best wishes to Nelson Mandela.