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S. Africans mark Mandela Day with focus on poverty

18 Jul 2019, 21:08 ( 4 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
South Africa's Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa speaks at a United Nations General Assembly event on the occasion of Mandela Day at the UN headquarters in New York, on July 18, 2018. Photo Xinhua.

South Africans on Thursday marked the International Nelson Mandela Day with a focus on seeking ways of addressing poverty.

   A variety of activities took place across the country under the theme: "Action against Poverty."

   President Cyril Ramaphosa spent 67 minutes with children from the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, meeting several of the patients at the hospital, many of whom have disability or chronic illness.

   Like Mandela, these patients have been confronted with great adversity, and like Mandela, they have remained hopeful and enthusiastic, said Ramaphosa.

   By performing good deeds on Mandela Day, people are not only paying tribute to the contribution that Mandela made to the cause of humanity, they are also reaffirming through their actions the timeless values Mandela embodied - values such as unity, compassion, service and solidarity, Ramaphosa said.

   Also in Cape Town, Parliament Art Gallery, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Museum, hosted an exhibition on Mandela's life at the Parliament precinct.

   Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff spent the day in honor of Mandela at four schools around Cape Town, with programs entailing engagement with educators and learners, a handover of gifts that included projectors, shoes and sanitary towels, among others.

   MPs also distributed educational material on the work of Parliament to learners to increase public awareness on Parliament.

   Parliament's Presiding Officers, led by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces' Chairperson Amos Masondo, stressed that Mandela Day provides an opportunity for recommitting Parliament to pursue the ethos and the ideals of a caring, responsive and activist society that spares neither strength nor effort to build a socially just world order.

   As South Africans marked Mandela Day, "we must unite behind a common goal of intensifying fundamental change, including through acts of kindness in our neighbourhood, to take our country forward," Modise and Masondo said in a joint statement.

   Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille spent the day at the Saartjie Baartman Center for Women and Children in Cape Town, doing a range of activities, including mowing of grass, general cleaning and unblocking of main sewer and storm water drains.

   The minister also donated 20 computers to the center.

   De Lille said her department's assistance to the center will not end on Mandela Day but will continue into the future.

   She promised to allocate 10 Expanded Public Works Program (EPWP) participants to provide services such as care, gardening and cleaning to the center.

   Mandela Day should be celebrated every day to make a difference in the lives of various communities, De Lille said.

   De Lille's deputy Noxolo Kiviet took part in a commemoration event at iKhaya lo Xolo Old Age Home in Gugulethu, Cape Town.

   Kiviet said her Department will recruit 30 EPWP participants who will provide the following services to the old age home: administration, cleaning and cooking.

   The International Mandela Day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first Mandela Day held on July 18, 2010. Since then, the day has been celebrated each year on July 18, Mandela's birthday.

   Mandela was South Africa's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election after the end of apartheid.