“Mandela Fridays” have been introduced to celebrate and pay homage to the life and centenary birthday of the late Nelson Mandela. It is also a bid to bring South Africans together during this time. Every last Friday of the month will be known as Mandela Friday, and forms part of a string of events that will celebrate the struggle stalwart.

Jeff Radebe, Minister of Energy and chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee on the centenary celebrations of Mandela and Albertina Sisulu (IMC), said that South Africans must work together to remove the obstacles that divide society.

“Together, we can combat racism‚ racial discrimination‚ xenophobia and related intolerances on all fronts,” he said on Tuesday.

The IMC was established in August 2017, and is in charge of the launch of both century celebrations – ‘Be the legacy’ for Nelson Mandela and ‘A woman of fortitude’ for Albertina Sisulu. Although the IMC is working closely with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Sisulu family to ensure that government develops a successful centenary celebration programme, political and religious organisations are encouraged to host their own activities to celebrate the lives of these iconic South Africans.

Sisulu’s centenary programme will include the unveiling of a special orchid named after her on 19 May, as well as a Big Debate showcase with the leadership of Fees Must Fall in June. Her official centenary month, which is October, will have a separate celebration from that of Mandela. The Comrades Marathon will be dedicated to Mandela this year, as well as the Nelson Mandela Football Challenge on 29 September.

The main celebration will take place on 18 July, which is the day of Mandela’s birthday. “Government calls on all South Africans and the international community to join in the centenary celebrations in their workplaces, schools, churches and civic organisations, as we reflect on the immense contribution these icons and global figures bequeathed our fledgling democracy,” Radebe said. “Ours is to build on the foundations they laid.”

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 19 years of journalism experience. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.