The South African government has called on all sectors of society to use the first anniversary of the passing of former President Nelson Mandela to keep his memory alive and to promote social cohesion.
Briefing journalists at Parliament, the Minister of Social Development said government would hold an official commemoration event at Freedom Park in Pretoria on December 5 – the day that the struggle icon passed on at his Houghton Estate home in Johannesburg – to celebrate his memory.
“We will use the first anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s passing to make a call to all South Africans and the world to keep his memory alive by living his values and continuing with efforts aimed at ensuring that all humanity lives in a society where peace, tolerance, the rule of law, justice and human rights form the cornerstone of our daily lives,” she said.
On the day, government will collaborate with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to hold the official event in Pretoria, which will be preceded and followed by a series of other events on different dates.
The Minister also announced that the Nelson Mandela Foundation would during the anniversary launch a “buy-a-book” campaign aimed at urging members of the public to buy and donate books to their local library, especially if they live in disadvantaged areas.
She said the buy-a-book campaign was significant and all organisations and private individuals should partake in it to honour Madiba’s memory.
“Building on the buy-a-book campaign, the Department of Social Development requests South Africans to buy and donate books to their local early childhood development centres, in line with Mandela’s vision for the nurturing and development of children,” she said.
Activities to remember Madiba
Several events will be held to commemorate the anniversary of Madiba’s passing, including a wreath laying ceremony at the Mandela statue at the Union Buildings at 8am on December 5; and an official commemorative event for invited guests at Freedom Park in Pretoria, where Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a keynote address.
A call has been made for all sectors of society to ring bells and sirens and to use their loud hailers at 9:57am on December 5 – for three minutes - to call the country to observe a moment of silence from 10am until 10:03am.
A social media campaign will be activated on the day under the hashtag #RememberMandela. People are urged to tweet their best memories of the fallen struggle icon.
South Africans are also called on to wear their favourite Mandela shirts or any other memorabilia on the day.
Mandela Foundation announces Mandela commemoration activities
Sello Hatang, the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, urged South Africans to embrace the buy-a-book campaign and said the foundation would also continue with its campaign on literacy, shelter and food security, which were launched earlier this year.
“We urge people to buy indigenous language books and books suitable for children,” he said.