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Mandela Day
Mandela Day

On Saturday 30 August, the South African Embassy to the DRC had the pleasure of presenting a newly refurbished and vastly improved school to its learners, teachers, parents, and the community which hosts it, in an impoverished area on the outskirts of Kinshasa.

This heart-warming occasion was the culmination of the Embassy’s Mandela Day 2014 initiative, which saw the remarkable transformation of a once dismal and decaying school, into a safe and functional environment, undertaken by the Embassy in conjunction with several valued partners in the form of corporate entities with close links to South Africa.

The Embassy’s annual Nelson Mandela International Day initiative, aimed at continuing the legacy of service and humanity that characterised Nelson Mandela’s struggle and life - continues to grow in momentum and scope from year to year. The legendary Nelson Mandela name and all it symbolises, has proven a rallying point for companies and organisations which find themselves in the position to ‘give back’ and who wish to associate themselves with Nelson Mandela’s proud legacy.  


Building on the successful renovation of a very dilapidated home for the elderly in 2013, the school project in 2014 proved far more ambitious, essentially entailing a complete rehabilitation of the structure. Dark, dingy classrooms were renewed into bright learning spaces, benches were refurbished, leaking roofs replaced and the dusty courtyard paved with attractive tiling. In addition, the school was provided for the first time with access to running water, which also benefited members of the surrounding community.

The handover ceremony which took place on 30 August 2014 was attended by a large number of persons and was a fitting end to the project, with learners treated to a packed lunch and gifts. The Embassy’s Deputy Ambassador addressed the audience, using the opportunity to encourage the children who were the main focus of the project, to devote themselves to their education. He reminded them of the late, great Nelson Mandela’s wise words “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and informed that he would one day be back to see the great lawyers, teachers, and perhaps even Ministers of Government that they had become.

In the context of the stark poverty prevalent in the DRC, the annual Nelson Mandela International Day initiative continues to provide a valuable platform for the mobilisation of resources, and volunteers, towards assisting people. The initiative has shown continual growth in interest, and in the resources committed to projects. The South African Embassy in the DRC is very proud of its role in ensuring that Madiba’s legacy will forever live on. 

H.E. Mr Abel Mxolisi Shilubane
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