Mandela Day this year is marred by the global COVID-19 pandemic that is bringing destruction and despair to many South African citizens. Apart from the epidemic, what makes this year’s Mandela Day bittersweet is the death of Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Zindziswa Mandela. News of the 59-year-old’s untimely death, heightened by all the lives lost in the Coronavirus fight, has left the whole country in collective mourning. The sadness and grief are palpable. 

This year’s Mandela Day will not only commemorate Nelson Mandela, the former statesman, but our thoughts will be with Zindzi Mandela and the Mandela family as a whole as they mourn this heartbreaking loss. It is the families of the struggle heroes that sacrificed and made it possible for freedom fighters to pursue liberation with vigour.

When we celebrate revolutionaries like Nelson Mandela, let’s also remember the struggle, the loss and the sacrifice that the wives, children, brothers, sisters and parents had to undertake. Let’s celebrate those families’ and community contributions too. Along with the everyday heroes who lost the Coronavirus fight; we grieve with those families. 

Annually held Mandela day celebration is this week, and although the nation is not in a celebratory mood, we think the day warrants taking time to reflect.

When is Mandela Day?

Mandela Day falls every year on former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday; July 18th.

What is Mandela Day? 

We celebrate this day by celebrating Madiba’s life and legacy. In previous years, Mandela day was a global call to action for everyone to do their part in changing the world by dedicating 67 minutes to doing some good; whether it be volunteering at a children’s home, soup kitchen or any other good deed.

What significance do the 67 minutes have? 

The 67 minutes are symbolic for Mandela’s 67 years serving the country and making the world a better place.

What can you do to celebrate Mandela day this year? 

With social distancing and a national curfew, we found a few activities you can do to commemorate the life of struggle icon Nelson Mandela while adhering to the COVID-19 regulations:

  • Reflect on the part you play as it pertains to protecting and respecting human life during this pandemic; are you following the regulations that can save lives? If not, what would Nelson Mandela do? Would he blatantly disregard human life because he wants to hang out with his friends? Start by doing right by the national lockdown and health guidelines.
  • If you have groceries, blankets or anything that can help someone in need, don’t hesitate. It’s up to us to look after each other and to extend a hand in love to less fortunate people.
  • Watch DJ Shimza’s live concert stream from Robben Island. This concert will be the first time a live stream concert takes place on Robben Island. The DJ will perform a set for 2 hours with help from his own foundation SHIMUZIC as well as Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi’s Foundation. Proceeds to the concert will go to charity. The live stream is from 16:00 to 18:00 and you can access the concert via this link:

Partnered up with Siya Kolisi foundation for another historic One Man Show that will be on MTVBaseAfrica this Saturday (Mandel Day) from Robben Island raising money towards families that have been badly affected by COVID-19 🙏🏾 donations are now open, link to donate >>> 🙏🏾 #OMSMandelaDay #SiyaKolisiXShimza

Posted by Shimza on Monday, 13 July 2020

  • Watch Afreefest 24 hour concert that will start on Mandela Day, July 18th from 12:01 am till 11:59 pm. The 24-hour concert is jam-packed with artists that will keep you entertained the whole day, plus it’s free. You can catch the live stream on the Afreefest website.
  • Watch a documentary on the life of Nelson Mandela and take some time to reflect on this country’s dark past and how far we’ve come:

Most of Nelson Mandela and apartheid South Africa’s documentaries are available on YouTube.

On July 18th, and hopefully every other day, we remember the selfless sacrifice and the splendour of our struggle heroes. What does Mandela Day mean to you?