Have you ever had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela?  I have – it was brief, I didn’t get to say a lot, I was mesmerized, I was speechless – there is SUCH an aura surrounding this man!  It’s very hard to quantify and describe and I guess; only those lucky enough to have had this honor will be able to back me up!  You are completely drawn in, you FEEL the greatness of this man, it is radiating out of him.   It was such an unexpected meeting, that no one had cameras and we were left wondering if it had actually happened at all.

In South Africa we are so lucky to have had Mandela lead us through our first fully representative democratic elections and government.   Madiba (his Xhosa clan name) won hearts around the entire world, so you can only imagine the effect he had on the people of his country!  He celebrates his 93rd birthday this year on the 18th of July, born in 1918!  Wow – 93 years old and still going strong despite 27 years in prison – many of those on the isolated Robben Island.  With daily views to Cape Town and Table Mountain from this island prison, his time here is included in the 67 years of his life spent fighting for the rights of humanity.

The view from Robben Island to Cape Town and Table Mountain

Mandela Day falls on the 18th of July.  The day was launched across the globe after Mandela’s successful 90th birthday celebrations in 2008.  The aim is to encourage people to take responsibility for making the world a better place and to give 67 minutes of their time to a worthy cause.  Ideally one wants to be conscious of this everyday, or more often than once a year….but the 18th of July is that one special day where you can do something to make a difference.  This is also a worldwide initiative, not only for Africa!

You have a week to get your plans in order.  What are you going to do on the 18th of July?  If you want some simple ideas click here.   Let’s all get this initiative on the road and give something back!