Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated annually on July 18
Nelson Mandela International Day, also known as Mandela Day, is observed every year on July 18 to mark the birth anniversary of the former South African president.
Mandela, who was elected South Africa's first black president in 1994 and led the country until 1999, was an iconic leader in the struggle against apartheid. He died in December 2013 at the age of 95.
Apartheid was an institutionalized racist system that allowed the minority white settlers to own most of the land, control the economy and all political levers. Blacks had no right to vote and were relegated to inferior jobs, education and services.
Mandela Day was first celebrated on July 18, 2010, after tit was officially declared an international day by the United Nations.
The day is meant to remember the services of Mandela and honour them through volunteer work, awareness and community service.
Mandela believed in equality and the need for people to come together and help each other rise above social class and color. This day is viewed as an opportunity to renew the values left behind by Mandela.
In 2014 the United Nations General Assembly introduced the Nelson Mandela prize to recognise the achievements of those who dedicated their lives to the service of humanity, much like he had in his lifetime.
In a video message on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day 2021, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said that the day was an “opportunity to reflect on the life and legacy of a legendary global advocate for dignity, equality, justice and human rights”.