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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South Africans mark Mandela Day by helping the poor

CAPE TOWN (Xinhua) -- South Africans on Tuesday marked the Nelson Mandela International Day by helping the poor and taking forward the fight against poverty.

Various social events were organized across the country with the aim of touching the lives of ordinary South Africans in general and the historically marginalised in particular.

These included donating blankets and food parcels to the poor, delivering books to libraries and visits to charity homes housing survivors of abuse, destitute mothers and their children.

The Nelson Mandela International Day, which falls on July 18, is celebrated across the globe in honor of late South African president Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

The United Nations launched the day on July 18, 2009 in recognition of the lifelong struggle against injustice of Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

This year’s Mandela Day is observed under the theme “Action Against Poverty.”

South Africans are encouraged to engage in meaningful and constructive community work by dedicating themselves to improve the lives of poor people and uplift the lives of those in need, to build a united and more caring society for a better life.

Outside Parliament’s Visitors’ Centre and on the corner of Adderley and Wale Streets in central Cape Town, a group of politicians joined charity workers in delivering soup and sandwiches to the homeless.

Parliament helped set up several soup and sandwich stations in the city as part of activities to observe the Mandela Day. 

“We should make every day a Mandela Day through our interactions with people and our environment,” said Amanda Madikiza, who works for Parliament. 

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said, “The day, Madiba’s birthday, should prompt us to realise that each of us can help to make our world a better place.” Madiba is the nickname for Mandela.

Diana Yasmine, a 28-year-old charity worker, told Xinhua that she wanted to observe the Mandela Day by doing something for those in need.

“If every one is doing his or her own part in community work, people can live a better life,”she said while distributing food to homeless people at a food station in central Cape Town.

A man in his sixties said he became homeless after a recent fire destroyed his house.

“Today I have to get help from others, but tommorrow I may be able to help,” the man said on condition of anonymity. “I hope every day is a Mandela Day,” he added.

In Ekurhuleni near Pretoria, Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete interacted with senior citizens, talking about services available to them while donating blankets and food parcels.

“Mandela Day is a timely occasion for us to reflect on where we have come from, where we are now and what we must still do to address social injustice,” Mbete said.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation took the opportunity to urge South Africans and those taking part in Mandela Day activities to continue with their efforts well beyond July 18 in the quest to make every day a Mandela Day.

“As we go out to plant gardens, build houses or feed pupils, we must know that it does not stop there. July 18 is the start of taking action, not the end. We want South Africans and people around the world to commit to long-term, sustainable projects that will tackle poverty,” said Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang.

On the Mandela Day, millions of people in South Africa and across the world spend 67 minutes of their time cleaning up the environment and doing community work for the good of others.

The 67 minutes symbolize the 67 years that Mandela spent fighting for social justice to make the world a better place.

“Let us individually and collectively continue to make a difference in addressing the most pressing challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” President Jacob Zuma said in a message marking the Mandela Day.

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Chinese community joins S. Africans in marking Mandela Day by helping the poor

CAPE TOWN (Xinhua) -- The Chinese community in Cape Town joined South Africans on Tuesday in marking the Nelson Mandela International Day by helping the poor.

The Chinese Community Police Forum (CCPF) in the Cape West Coast hosted a charity event by donating daily necessities to the elderly at a time when a cold front was raging in the region.

Blankets, food parcels and gifts were delivered to the senior people living in desolation in order to help them go through the chilly weather, organizers said.

In addition to members of the CCPF,  representatives from the South African Border Police and the Saldanha Sea Border Women’s League were also attending the event.

The event was part of a community outreach program in commemoration of the Nelson Mandela International Day, serving as a reminder for the lifetime of services Mandela had given to South Africa.

Captain Helgard Prince, Acting Commander of the West Coast Border Police, expressed his gratitude for the amount of love that the Chinese community has demonstrated for the local community.

He stated that the charity deed was admirable and greatly appreciated by the recipients.

Prince urged the Chinese community to strengthen the bond they have nurtured with the police and put their trust in South Africa’s justice system.

“This will immensely help regional police departments to provide improved service delivery to the country in general,” he said.

Zhiming Wu, Chairman of the CCPF, said the diplomatic relations between China and South Africa have reached historical heights in recent years in the form of comprehensive strategic partnership.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the Chinese community living in South Africa establishes a healthy relationship with the local society,” he said.

By participating in community charity events, the Chinese community can immerse themselves into the local culture and truly become a member of the community they live in, Wu said.

Meanwhile, the Soong Ching Ling Foundation South Africa also organized a charity event, making a donation of household items like heaters, blankets and clothes to impoverished children living in the Thornton SOS Village.

These children have either been separated from their families because they are abused or they simply do not have a home to go to.

The Nelson Mandela International Day, which falls on July 18, is celebrated across the globe in honor of Mandela’s birthday.

The United Nations launched the day on July 18, 2009 in recognition of the lifelong struggle against injustice of Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

This year’s Mandela Day is observed under the theme “Action Against Poverty.”

On this day, millions of people in South Africa and across the world spend 67 minutes of their time cleaning up the environment and doing community work for the good of others.

The 67 minutes symbolize the 67 years that Mandela spent fighting for social justice to make the world a better place.

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