Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day! | Net Impact

Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day!

Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day! | Net Impact

On July 18 the world celebrates Nelson Mandela Day. This is a day not only for honoring the former president of South Africa but for continuing his legacy of social justice, peace, and human rights. There are plenty of ways for you to get involved to help celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela and to carry on his mission of service.  

Who Was Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918 in the Eastern Cape. He studied law at two universities and subsequently worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg. In fact, he was one of South Africa’s first black lawyers. 


He got involved in South African politics first as an anti-colonial activist and then as an anti-apartheid activist once South Africa's white-only ruling party established the system of racial segregation and oppression. 


Mandela was arrested many times for seditious activities. In 1961, he was acquitted after being on trial with numerous others for treason. He continued the fight to end apartheid, traveling outside of South Africa to seek support for the movement in his home country. When he returned home in 1962, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. 


In 1963, he was on trial again, this time facing the death penalty. As the trial concluded, Mandela and several of his fellow activists were sentenced to life in prison. 


Mandela was released from prison in 1990 after growing pressure and fears of civil war led then-president F. W. de Klerk to release him. He spent 27 years in prison. Still involved in politics and active in the movement against apartheid rule, Mandela ran for president of South Africa in 1994. He was the first democratically elected president of South Africa after winning the election. 


After stepping down after only one term, Mandela continued to make an impact and create change with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. After a lifetime of advocacy and commitment to equality, freedom, and peace, Mandela died in his home in Johannesburg on December 5th, 2013..

Why Do We Celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day?

We honor Nelson Mandela and his contribution to the world and humanity every year on his birthday. But it's not just about honoring a justice and equality champion, it's also about continuing his legacy by contributing to the values that Mandela fought for all his life. 


Celebrating Nelson Mandela Day can help remind us that with perseverance, determination, and dignity, it's possible to make great changes across the globe for the better. Whether it's fighting poverty, volunteering to help feed children, advocating for the environment, or showing your commitment to a better society through investments or donations, there's something everyone can do to promote these important initiatives. 


What You Need To Know About Nelson Mandela International Day

Nelson Mandela's legacy is deeply rooted in his commitment to fighting inequality and carries on today. Here are some interesting facts about Mandela and this day that can help present a better picture of why people around the world take action on July 18th. 


  • Even while Mandela was in prison, he was a symbol for all his fellow citizens who continued the fight to end apartheid.
  • Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his work to tear down South Africa’s apartheid regime. 
  • The United Nations proclaimed Nelson Mandela Day in 2009, four years before Mandela’s death. 
  • The U.N. General Assembly adopted the Mandela Rules for the treatment of prisoners in 2015. Although not legally binding, these rules have been the basis for legislation and have influenced the fair treatment of prisoners around the world.

How To Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day?

To celebrate Nelson Mandela's 67 years of service, you can start with 67 minutes on a worthy cause of your choice.

Mandela 67 Minute Ideas

The Nelson Mandela Day 2021 theme is One Hand Can Feed Another. And while you don't have to stick with this theme, there are plenty of activities you can do for 67 minutes to fight poverty right in your own city or town. Here are a few ideas:


  • Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter.
  • Offer to help fix things at a community center or school.
  • Pick up litter for 67 minutes (or 67 pieces of litter).
  • Join a mentor program.
  • Donate clothing to a shelter. 


These are just a few ideas that can get you started. Really, the most important part of Nelson Mandela Day is doing something, no matter how small, that will help people. 

Learn More

During his life, Mandela fought for justice, democracy, and peace in many ways. It’s hard to imagine a righteous cause that he wasn’t involved in during his astounding career. 

You can read more about Nelson Mandela Day and how to take action here


If you want to learn more about how you can make a difference in your community, join your local Net Impact Chapter and collaborate with like-minded people to make a lasting social and environmental impact.