Celebrating Nelson Mandela Day In Our Own Way

Written by CorpsAfrica/Senegal Volunteer Mr. Amadou Alpha Ba

Nelson Mandela Day is an annual international day in honor of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on July 18, Mandela’s birthday. The day was officially declared by UNESCO in November 2009. It commemorates the contribution of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid cause and first black president of South Africa, to promote a culture of peace.

On this day, every citizen of the world is called to symbolically dedicate 67 minutes of his time to work in community service, in memory of the 67 years Mandela devoted to the struggle for equality, reconciliation, and cultural diversity.

For the first time, we celebrate this day in the UNESCO World Heritage, the Saloum Delta.  It was held in Toubakouta, a town with 52 villages, among them Missirah.  This day was such a success. In this locality, this day is organized within the project “Protected Areas, Eco-entrepreneurship and Employability of Young people and Women.” I participated in the workshops during this celebration: Social Innovation, Local Economic Development Entrepreneurship and in the Biosphere Reserve of the Saloum Delta, Citizenship and Sustainable Development.” Very rich in exchanges with many perspectives.

What is so impressive to me is the promoter of this event, a Senegalese living in Norway, who has brought kids from Colobane, a ” disadvantaged ” neighborhood in the big city, Dakar to spend 4 days in the locality. They were put in contact with kids of the community and participated in several activities such as sketches, songs, etc. all regarding Mandela and the environment. This exchange was very interesting and rewarding because Colobane is faced with huge environmental issues, thus these kids, once back home, will have another perspective of  the environment and will have behavior changes and can even influence and sensitize their relatives.

As for the 67 minutes for the community, we collected rubbishes around the town hall and some streets around the Interpretation Center of Toubakouta.

67 minutes to promote the Marine Protected Area of Senegal.
67 minutes to sensitize the local population about the consequences of rubbishes by the Lieutenant of the Bamboung Protected Area.

The highlight was the fresco (painting done in a wall) done in the Interpretation Center. I had the privilege to paint something for CorpsAfrica. A fresco where we see signatures from authorities, kids, young, to name but a few.  A significant fresco which doesn’t need to be interpreted. You just see it and you understand.

Nelson Mandela followed three rules throughout his life, which he did a great personal sacrifice:
-Free yourself, Free others, Serve every day. His following citation, does inspire me: ‘‘what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead’’. And if we see in the context of this area, we can all times lead schemes about environment. It makes me think of the famous sentence: ‘‘We do not inherit the earth planet from our ancestors.
We borrow it from our children’’.

If it’s in this way, I’m wondering
WHY NOT TO CELEBRATE MANDELA DAY EVERY DAY?

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