Special Edition | 20 August 2014
 
The Diplomat team appreciates all the contributions received from missions on the International Mandela Day celebrations. Space limitations do not allow the publishing of all contributions in the Diplomat. Enjoy this special electronic edition, which features Mandela Day celebrations across the globe.
 
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MANDELA DAY CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE
 
 
 
 
 
COTONOU, BENIN
 
The South African Embassy in Benin participated in a Mandela Day event held
in the town of Dangbo, just north of the
legislative capital of Porto Novo.
 
 
Ambassador Gwadiso (in the middle) with the Prefet of the Department (left) and Mayor of Dangbo (right) in front of the Nelson Mandela Cultural Centre
 
The South African cellphone company, MTN, sponsored the building of a cultural centre, which was inaugurated on 18 July as the “Nelson Mandela Cultural Centre”.

The cultural centre will function mainly as a library and computer centre. There is no computer centre (or café) in Dangbo and people previously had to travel to Porto Novo to access a computer.

The inauguration was attended by the Préfet of the Province of Ouémé and Plateau, the Mayor of Dangbo, a former Minister, personnel of MTN and the Embassy as well as the local population.

In his speech, the Ambassador concentrated on the meaning of Mandela Day, as well as the former President’s keen interest in the youth and education. He told his audience that he believed that the Nelson Mandela Cultural Centre would assist in inspiring the people of Benin, and especially its youth, to follow the rich examples of service to others left to us by former President Mandela.

The Ambassador also stated that he was confident that this centre would provide a valuable cultural and educational service to the people of Dangbo and beyond and that he was very proud that the name of President Mandela would be associated with such a magnificent centre.

The inauguration was comprehensively covered by Channel 3 of the Benin television service.
 
 

LUANDA, ANGOLA

 
The South African Embassy in Luanda identified a pastor who was working in the Bom Jesus Village as its focus for the 2014 Mandela Day Initiative.
 
 
 
 
The village has two pastors who are very active in trying to assist their community.

While there are a range of difficulties facing the community from poverty, unemployment, lack of facilities etc., the Embassy found that the most pressing challenge in the community was the lack of schooling. The school provided by the pastor caters for children unable to attend the local government school as it is full. Earlier this year, the only teacher for the church school left as she was able to find a better, higher-paying job, which has resulted in the children not attending any school at all.

The school also caters for the women in the community who come to learn to read and write. Before closing, the school catered for approximately 40 to 50 children from the ages of seven to 12 years. Also when he was able, the pastor would provide meals for the children.

The Embassy was informed that when the meals stopped, school attendance dropped too. The church does not receive funding from government or any non-governmental organisations.

The Embassy, in collaboration with a number or South African companies (SAA, SA Tourism, Denel and Standard Bank), was able to raise enough money to sponsor two teachers for a year, a supply of long-life foods to continue the feeding scheme, school clothes, plant some trees and provide school materials.

The Embassy is thankful for the support received and for the small difference it was able to make in the community.
 
 

ATHENS, GREECE

 
On 18 July 2014, the South African Embassy in Athens devoted International Nelson Mandela Day to the Margarita Special Vocational Training Centre for People with Mental Disabilities.
 
South African Embassy staff and visitors from South Africa with Margarita Centre youth
 
Marks Mmutlane (First Secretary); Lonna Xirogiannis, Social Worker at Amigthaleza Detention Centre; Irene Stamatiou, Secretary; and Dawid du Plessis, Counsellor
Ambassador Makgetla with George Bistas, Director; seated is Loanna Tsokopoulos, founder of the Margarita Centre
 
Staff from the Embassy, led by Ambassador Sophonia Rapulane Makgetla and Dawid du Plessis (Counsellor), Marks Mmutlane (First Secretary), representatives from the South African community and the community of Greek South Africans, visited the Margarita and after a brief introduction to the youth, proceeded to the workshops.

The volunteers along with the students, with a lot of joviality, made snacks and cookies at the “Bakery” workshop, jewellery at the "Gift Items" workshop and planted trees and vegetables at "The Garden". Most of these items produced will be sold to assist the Margarita Centre financially.

Besides the vegetables, an apple tree and a bay leaf tree were planted by Ambassador Makgetla as a reminder of the International Nelson Mandela Day 2014. Volunteers and students at Margarita worked flawlessly together and the result exceeded all expectations. Mandela Day at Margarita Centre emphasised how people, cultures and civilizations which apparently differed in substance were much closer than most people believed.

The day ended with snacks and dancing, as young and old were lured by the Mandela Group dancers to join the rhythms of South Africa.

The Mission also donated books, clothes, linen and hygiene products to the Immigration Detention Centre at Amigthaleza within the framework of International Nelson Mandela Day.
 
 

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

 
On 29 May 2014, the Legislature of the City Government of Buenos Aires passed Declaration 178/2014, which decrees the annual celebration of International Mandela Day.
 
Senator Estensoro, Ambassador Dlamini and children from Ciudad Oculta
Embassy staff with children from Hogares Fe Children’s Home
 
In similar vein, the Senate of the Republic of Argentina hosted a Special Sitting on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, which culminated in the official launch of Nelson Mandela International Day in Argentina on 15 October 2013.

On that occasion, Ambassador Princess Zenani Dlamini was the guest of honour. 
 
2014 was the first year that Argentina officially participated in the International Mandela Day and the Embassy, in cooperation with the City of Buenos Aires, visited two disadvantaged areas. The first was a daycare centre for children whose families cannot afford to send their children to care facilities, which is 100% sponsored by the Government.

At the premises, the staff interacted with the children, ranging between the ages of five months to four years, at the end of which food, sponsored by ARCOR, was handed over to the centre. The Embassy solicited donations from ARCOR, which was the first Argentine company to export food-related goods to South Africa 20 years ago.

The second visit was to the Ciudad Oculta, a poor largely immigrant community where a group of 40 children have organised an orchestra. The “elders” of the community briefed staff members about the challenges the community faced as well as how they engaged children through sports and cultural activities to keep them away from drugs. At the end of the visit, the Embassy also handed over the food generously donated by ARCOR.

As a traditional partner of the Embassy, staff paid a visit to the Hogares Sante Fe, a children’s home, on 19 July 2014. This was the third year that the Embassy collaborated with this home, whose children have become close to the Embassy.

At the centre, which hosts 16 children who were removed by the courts from their families because of issues of neglect and abuse, a painting competition was held and lunch shared. Cash, donated by staff members, was handed over to the administrators for the purchase of diapers because the centre is currently hosting a large group of children under the age of three.

The Embassy is planning to undertake more projects during the course of the year, adding credence to “Make Every Day a Mandela Day”.
 
 
ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR
 
Nelson Mandela Day event hosted by the Malagasy Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 18 July 2014. Members of the Diplomatic Corps observing official speeches delivered at the event
Children and Embassy partners at the Handri and Fanantenana Orphanage Home on 11 July 2014
Ambassador Grobler making remarks at the International Nelson Mandela Day event hosted by the Malagasy Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 18 July 2014
Ambassador Grobler handing out a food package to a parent at the Befelatanana Children’s Hospital
 
Dignitaries left to right:  UN Envoy to Madagascar, Claire Mulanga; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arisoa Lala Razafitrimo; Prime Minister, Kolo Roger; AU Envoy to Madagascar, Ahmed Youssouf Hawa; and Ambassador Grobler
 
The 2014 Mission programme for Nelson Mandela Day commenced on Monday, 14 July 2014, with a visit to an orphanage. The delegation to the orphanage consisted of L Mpepho and A Zingelwa from the Mission, officials from the Ministry of Culture, representatives of the youth leadership organisation, locally recruited officials from the United Nations (UN) and representative of the sponsors. The delegation donated blankets and food parcels to the children. The donations were warmly received by the management of the orphanage who informed the delegation about serious shortages of food and limited accommodation. The children in the orphanage are abandoned by their parents, among other reasons, due to poverty and unemployment. 

On Tuesday, 15 July 2014, the delegation visited a prison for women and teenage boys. The delegation donated food parcels and blankets to 150 women and 100 boys. Mr Mpepho was again requested to make remarks on behalf of the delegation. Senior officials of the prison expressed their gratitude for the donations and further appealed to the inmates to follow the footsteps and respect the values of former President Nelson Mandela. On Wednesday, 16 July 2014, the delegation visited the old-age home. The Mission was represented by Ms Zingelwa. Donations to the home included light meals, rice, blankets, biscuits, tea and coffee. The senior citizens come from families who are unable to care for them. Ambassador Gert Grobler and the UN representative led the delegation to a children hospital on Thursday, 17 July 2014. Ambassador Grobler and the UN representative’s visit was covered by the media. Donations to the hospital included blankets, cleaning material and food. 

On Friday, 18 July 2014, there were two events. The first was at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was a high-profile event attended by the Prime Minister, President of the National Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, UN and African Union (AU) representatives, heads of mission and members of the Diplomatic Corps. The main speakers were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arisoa Lala Razafitrimo; the UN representative, Claire Mulanga; the AU Special envoy, Ahmed Youssouf Hawa; and Ambassador Grobler. Ambassador Grobler reiterated the South African Government’s appreciation to the international community for the messages of support received during the passing of former President Mandela. The Ambassador further appealed to the international community to continue the Nelson Mandela Day events in years to come, both in word and deed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs cited many examples and lessons on the legacy of former President Mandela. She mentioned that Madagascar required the leadership and determination of former President Mandela and South Africa to deal with some of the country’s critical challenges such as national reconciliation, nation-building, transformation of the society, to mention just a few. A local youth choir paid tribute to former President Mandela.

The last event of the day was co-hosted by the Minister of Crafts, Culture and Heritage, Vaonalaroy Randrianarisoa; the unelected Mayor of the City of Antananarivo, Hasina Andriamanjato; and Ambassador Grobler. All the speakers paid tribute to Madiba and appealed to the public to honour his legacy. The Embassy and its partners mounted exhibition stands where the focus was on arts, crafts and education. The event was held at an open public space within the vicinity of the municipal offices and was attended by hundreds of people. After the formal speeches, the movie Invictus was screened for the public.   
 
 
SOFIA, BULGARIA
 
 
 
On 18 July, the Embassy’s staff visited the Vrazhdebna Refugee Centre in Sofia to hand over educational material to the children as part of its social responsibility to honour and celebrate the late President Nelson Mandela on his birthday.

The donations were bought with personal funds of the Embassy staff as a sign of everyone’s personal commitment to recognising Mandela’s legacy.
 
 
HONG KONG, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
 
The South African Consulate in Hong Kong celebrated Mandela Day on 18 July 2014 in collaboration with the Southern African Association of Hong Kong (SAAHK).
 
Consul-General Gwala (second from right) with representatives from the SAAHK and Room to Read
 
This year, the Consulate and SAAHK partnered with Room to Read, a charity that raises funds to support and promote literacy in Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia. The concept for the day was to host a book drive – second-hand books were collected to be sold at the event and the funds raised went to Room to Read. They were ring-fenced specifically for South Africa projects.

The Hong Kong community was generous in donating books and seven boxes of books were delivered to the venue on the day. The venue for the book sale was provided by a South African businesswoman in Hong Kong and South African wine exporters donated wine for the guests visiting the book sale. 

Despite severe weather conditions (Hong Kong suffered a typhoon that day!), attendance of the event was very high. This has been the most well-attended Hong Kong Mandela Day event to date; the reason being the close collaboration with the South African community through the SAAHK, which will be maintained on an ongoing basis.

The event was festive with many visitors drinking South African wine and browsing books. The SAAHK then made introductory remarks, handing over to Room to Read to talk about their charity, and finally to Consul-General Phumelele Gwala to give the keynote address. At the request of the South Africa community, following her standing-ovation performance during the Rugby 7s dinner in March, Consul-Genral Gwala also led the crowd in singing the South African National Anthem and followed this with a lively performance of Shosholoza!

The event raised close to R20 000 and leftover books were donated to the Salvation Army, which they will sell in their second-hand bookstore.

Aside from raising funds for Room to Read, the event provided an opportunity for South Africans in Hong Kong to come together and feel a sense of community. At the same time, the life of Nelson Mandela was genuinely celebrated at this event. Following closely on the Consulate's screening of Invictus and Cry, the Beloved Country, this event served to further bolster the South African community in Hong Kong and spread pride in our country and in our former President beyond the South African community and into the wider Hong Kong community.
 
 
OSLO, NORWAY
 
The Lighthouse is a safe haven and sanctuary for the city’s homeless and drug addicts where a roof over the head, food, clothes and compassion are being provided by an idealistic staff on a daily basis.
 
The Oslo Mission volunteered at the Lighthouse
 
The Oslo Mission commemorated Mandela Day on 18 July 2014 by volunteering at the Salvation Army´s Lighthouse in the Norwegian capital.

The Salvation Army partners with both private and public philanthropy and has brought support to the needy since 1865 by entering into the world of the broken, lonely, dispossessed and lost, reaching them in love by all means. The organisation has a presence in 126 countries, running charity shops and operating shelters for the homeless and providing disaster relief and humanitarian aid to developing countries.

The Oslo Mission, with First Secretary Booysen Dombo at the forefront, worked alongside the regular employees at the Lighthouse on Friday 18 July, in preparing food and providing clothes, as well as assisting with cleaning the facility. The SA Embassy in Oslo acknowledges the importance of commemorating such a grand day, by honouring Mandela’s immense efforts and remember that we are indeed standing on the shoulders of a giant, and that his courage and heritage must never be forgotten. We are inspired to make each day a Mandela Day by incorporating his values in our everyday lives and thereby helping to make Ubuntu a reality.
 
 
ALGIERS, ALGERIA
 
Ambassador Joseph Kotane during the South African Embassy’s International Nelson Mandela Day event at the Bab Ezzouar Old-Age Home in Algiers, Algeria
 
 
 

BERLIN, GERMANY

 
   
 
The Mission in Berlin celebrated Nelson Mandela Day with a programme that included story-telling (on Madiba’s life) and South African children’s games and cloth-painting, with children from the SOS-Kinderdorf and the Nelson Mandela School.
 
 
The children’s hand-print artwork was then taken to the Tiergarten (the biggest park in Berlin) where Ambassador Makhenkesi Stofile unveiled a Nelson Mandela Bench besides the tree planted as part of last year’s 67 minutes.

The bench was sponsored by the Embassy staff – three members took the initiative, at their own expense, to hold a successful fundraising luncheon and raffle. The Maritim Hotel offered refreshments and an impromptu Embassy Choir sang to honour Madiba. The children were each presented with a book with Mandela’s favourite fairy tales.

The day was rounded up with a concert at the Maritim Hotel with South African tenor July Zuma, pianist Markus Zugehör and Cellist Frank Dodge from the Spectrum Orchestra. A photo exhibition by Matthew Willman (who was commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to take the last official photographs of Madiba) was exclusively shown for this one event. The proceeds will go to the Matthew Willman Foundation that supports young South African artists.

A raffle was organised (Lufthansa Airlines sponsored flight tickets as a prize), which generated more than 1 000 euro which went to the SOS Children's Villages organisation in South Africa. The Mission’s commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day was truly carried out in the spirit of “giving back” and serving others.
 
 
WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA
 
 
High Commissioner Myakayaka-Manzini with the children of the SOS Children’s Village in Windhoek
High Commissioner Myakayaka-Manzini and staff with the children of the Katutura State Hospital
   

The South African High Commission and Namib Mills, Namibia’s leading milling company, again joined forces on International Nelson Mandela Day.

 Birthday cake for the children of the Katutura State Hospital Children’s Ward
 
Last year, the High Commission staff took time out to load and unload the company’s drought-relief donation to Namibia. 

This year, the staff once again assisted to deliver the company’s donation of 70 mattresses and 150 blankets to the Katutura State Hospital’s Children’s Ward, using 67 minutes of their time to give back to the community.

The South African High Commission staff members also entertained the more than 100 children in the ward with a birthday cake and presented small goody bags for those who could not indulge in eating the cake due to health reasons.

During the event, the South African High Commissioner, Yvette Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini, praised Namib Mills for their enduring support to grow the Nelson Mandela Day campaign in Namibia, and called on other South African companies and citizens in Namibia to join hands with local businesses and persons to celebrate and continue Madiba’s legacy by helping others to make the world a better place.

The event saw the special guests – the children of the SOS Children’s Village in Windhoek – treated to a magnificent lunch and a mountain of dessert in the hotel’s Moringa Room. 

The main speaker at the event was High Commissioner Myakayaka-Manzini who spoke of the late President’s life and his love of children. 

Apart from a giant cake and plenty of memories, the Kalahari Sands also presented the children with new school bags, including lunch boxes, pencil cases and stationery, and new toilet bags with toiletries. 
 
 
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEELAND
 
 
 
The South African High Commissioner, Zodwa Lallie, and Mission staff members in Wellington in partnership with the Salvation Army, spent their 67minutes of selfless community service at the Sanctuary House for teenage girls, to mark the Mission’s celebration of the Nelson Mandela International Day, on 18 July 2014.
 
The Sanctuary House is a transitional home which provides supervised emergency accommodation for troubled teenage girls, in Wellington, New Zealand. Tthe team also visited the Hope Centre for homeless people.
 
 
MASERU, LESOTHO
 
Counsellor and Deputy High Commissioner, Sello Jelle (left), handing over food parcels to the Sisters of Charity, Sekamaneng.
 
The South African High Commission hosted a 6,7-km funwalk for the Nelson Mandela International Day Celebration on Friday, 18 July 2014.
 
The Mission hosted the event in partnership with most South African companies based in Lesotho, notably Pick ’n Pay Maseru, Nashua Maseru, Sky-Net, KFC Maseru, Premier Foods and the Trading Post in Benoni. The following companies are Lesotho-based: LCS Maseru, Sole Trader (Makhaleng) and Pioneer Mall Management.

The inaugural fun walk started at 09h00 and ended at 11h00 and was well attended by more than 150 people: Basotho and South Africans living in Lesotho, international organisations accredited to Lesotho and members of the Diplomatic Corps were also in attendance. The Mission also officially launched the 20th Anniversary Celebration by donating food parcels and clothing to the Centre for the Poor and Less Privileged in Sekamaneng, Maseru, which was established in the 2000 and has 72 orphans.

The centre was opened after the former Archbishop of Maseru, His Grace Archbishop Mohlalisi, requested the Sisters of Charity to open the centre to cater for the needy community in the area, particularly the children of the 1995 Vaal Reefs No.2 Disaster where 104 miners perished, of whom 56 were Basotho citizens. A trust was established and funded the infrastructure at the centre and the self-help projects such as poultry and vegetable farming on the premises.

The centre has a challenge of an ever-increasing number of children living with HIV and AIDS and no recreational facilities.

More than 4 tons of food and lots of clothes were collected and donated to the centre.
 
 
KIGALI, RWANDA
 
On 18 July 2014, South African High Commission staff, South Africans and friends in Rwanda marked International Mandela Day at the Gahanga Centre of Youth and Disabled People. The team carried out the day’s activity by washing, cleaning, fence trimming, repairing and installing new electrical wiring. 
 
 
The Gahanga Centre of Youth and Disabled People was founded in 1998 and officially opened in 2000. The centre was founded by a Rwandan and is managed by Incuti Zabakene (Friends of the Poor) Sisters. It started with three children and over time, the number increased to reach the current number of 38 children with different types of disabilities, mainly mental disabilities. These mostly orphaned children are from different parts of the country. The centre does not have any donors but rather relies on “Good Samaritans”.  
 
 
MILAN, ITALY
 
Following the successful 2013 Mandela Day celebrations at the Old-Age Home in Corsico, a small city close to Milan, the Mission further strengthened the relationship with the Corsico Local Administration during the past year and consolidated it with the 2014 Mandela Day celebrations.
 
Consul-General Saul Molobi and spouse with representatives of the Corsico Local Government and the elderly 

 

The Consul-General visited the Old-Age Home on the occasion of their Christmas party in December 2013 and undertook to celebrate Mandela Day with the elderly in July 2014.

Upon arrival at the Old-Age Home, the Consul-General and staff were welcomed by representatives of the City of Corsico, namely Deputy Mayor Zibardi and MECs Landoni, Longo and Blumetti, and by the staff and elderly of the centre. After the official greeting by the authorities, the programme unfolded with a video recalling last year’s celebrations, the unveiling of a mural “There is no easy way to freedom” dedicated to Mandela and a lively bingo game with the participation of young Summer camp students. Before serving the elderly at lunch, Consul-General Molobi invited everyone to sign the 20th Anniversary pull-up banner and to share the vibe of the celebrations. The programme ended with a lunch honoured by the presence of the Mayor of Corsico, Maria Ferrucci.

Furthermore, in preparation for this year’s celebrations, the Mission submitted a project proposal to the MEC for Education and International Cooperation, Nadia Landoni, which involves an e-twinning agreement between a South African high school, which the Mission is in the process of identifying, and a high school in Corsico. The proposal was accepted with enthusiasm by the City of Corsico, whose Mayor has invited the Consul-General to take part in a roundtable discussion on the value of education inspired by President Mandela’s quotation: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

The roundtable discussion will take place on 20 September 2014 on the occasion of the White Night for Peace in Corsico, an event featuring cultural initiatives. The roundtable will also be an opportunity to officially launch the e-twinning project.
 
 
N’DJAMENA, REPUBLIC OF CHAD
 
On Wednesday, 16 July 2014, transferred officials and locally recruited personnel (LRP) at the South African Embassy in N’Djamena, Republic of Chad, contributed to International Mandela Day’s 67 minutes of community service.
 
The South African Embassy – N’Djamena team awaiting the arrival of the children. From left:  Mr Blaise, Ms Nanasra, Mr Ibrahim, Mr Abdelkerim, Mr Mayoli, Ambassador Naidoo, Ms Everson-Varney, Mr Yangassi and Ms Mvubelo
 
The Embassy received 100 children from the Quartier Marjan Daffac, the neighbourhood where the chancery is situated. The neighbourhood has more than 500 children who are mostly studying at the two Koranic schools.

The Embassy, in an attempt to built a sense of community awareness with its close neighbours, arranged with the teachers of the schools through the Chef de Quartier (Head of Neighbourhood) to receive 50 girls and 50 boys at the chancery.

The programme included a talk by Ambassador Dayanand Naidoo with the view to raise awareness on humanity, cleanliness and education among the girls and boys.

A considerable financial contribution was pledged by South African transferred officials, Chadian LRP, friends and partners of the South African Embassy which was utilised to distribute writing slates, chalk, exercise books, sandwiches and juice to the children, as well as awards for the best performing students.

This was only the second time that International Nelson Mandela Day was celebrated in N’Djamena. The Embassy will continue in making every day a Mandela Day.
 
 
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