Uganda joins world to mark Mandela’s birthday

Kampala. Mandela Day is not an event, but a way of life. This is how Prof Lekoa Solly Mollo, the South African High Commissioner, described the commemoration of Africa’s greatest statesman as the world celebrates his birthday today.

Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013, was born on July 18, 1918 and would have turned 100 today.

]“It is a remembrance of what his life symbolised; his ideals for freedom and ethics. We are taking this moment to inculcate Mandela’s selfness and service in our everyday values,” Prof Mollo said yesterday.

He said when the UN contacted Mandela informing him about declaring a day in his honour, in his gracious way, he turned it down but advised that instead of celebrating him, people should spend the time doing something that will make another person’s life better.

Mandela was quoted at the time, stating: “I have spent 67 years of my life fighting for the betterment of people.

Twenty-seven of those years were spent in prison. If anyone wants to celebrate me, just spend 67 minutes of your life doing something that makes someone else’s life better.”
And as such, there will be centennial activities aimed at serving and making other people’s lives better.

These include; cleaning, painting, constructing some classroom blocks at Bweyogerere Muslim Primary School and donating sanitary pads and other scholastic materials to pupils.

“There will also be a tree-planting ceremony at the Mandela National Stadium today. We will plant a special tree that will be called the Mandela shade which will hopefully encourage people to seek shelter under it and promote the communal spirit,” Prof Mollo said.

Two hundred trees were donated by National Agricultural Research Organisation of Uganda and Tibirusya Arts Academy.

Prof Mollo appealed to everyone to honour Mandela’s legacy by living a life that has purpose and responsibility.

“We are a generation that cannot have any excuse for not doing the right and humane thing. We have lived with all these amazing icons such as Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, among others that we should have learned from.”

“Every individual has the responsibility and ability to preserve and better our world. Unchecked greed and selfishness will kill our beautiful globe unless we turn to the values that these people spent their lives trying to teach us,” the South African High Commissioner said.

MultiChoice will also be launching the DStv channel 199, a channel dedicated to showcasing inspirational icons such as Mandela.

Starting today, the special five-day long pop-up channel will celebrate and honour the extraordinary life and legacy of Madiba.

“The channel will feature an exceptional mix of films, documentaries and archive footage of the life and times of Nelson Mandela,” Ms Tina Wamala, the MultiChoice public relations and communications manager, said.

On Friday, South African musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka will address children at Bweyogerere Muslim Primary School and hold a concert at the Kampala Serena Hotel whose proceeds will go to the Shule Foundation, which extends education to children in rural Africa.

To conclude the celebrations, there will be a family day on Saturday organised by the Rotary Club of Kampala at Kaazi camping grounds to fundraise for their education projects.

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