Is Nelson Mandela Day just a plaster to hide social ills?

by Kimberly Flanagan

Today South Africans and people all across the globe are celebrating the life of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela, by dedicating 67 minutes in doing something good to honour the 67 years that Madiba gave to public service.

Now, whether you partake in this cause or not is not relevant, the question is whether or not we use Nelson Mandela Day as a plaster to hide all the other social issues that we are facing in the country. What happens tomorrow when this day is over and the significance of it is forgotten?

Are the good deeds merely done for good pictures on Instagram and Twitter and for people to like your “good deed”? When all is said and done, what difference have you and I made after the 67 minutes is done?

Have you taken the time to ask yourself why you are taking part in this and what it is that you want out of it? Is it so that you can trend and be part of the #67minutes?

Do we wait for the next year to do another good deed that we can post about on social media? Or do we aspire and inspire to be people who choose to actively do something good for someone else every single day?

It doesn’t need to be social media worthy, in fact, it doesn’t need to be on social media at all.

Nelson Mandela was known and will always be known as someone who fought for the rights of others, who loved children and who stood firm in all he believed in. He was seen as a role model and inspiration to do better and be better and that is how the 67 minutes was born. It is to test our ability to put others before ourselves and to give ourselves fully and completely to someone else.

The power of this concept however only comes into full effect once you practice it every single day; that brings me to this quote by the former president; We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

What I feel he is saying in that quote is that we don’t always have to wait for the 18th of July and use only 67 minutes of our time. All the time we have must be used to do something good.

I’ll leave you with this quote as well;

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.

The quality of life you live is determined by the quantity of the contribution you add to your society.

While I was writing this article, I saw the news about two security guards that were shot dead and I just thought to myself; crime doesn’t stop on Nelson Mandela Day so why should our good deeds be limited to one day of the year for only 67 minutes?

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