“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” This poignant call to action by former President Nelson Mandela has become the basis of the wave of good deeds undertaken by millions of people across the globe in commemoration of Mandela Day.
It is in this very spirit that Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University – which officially launches as Nelson Mandela University on 20 July – is calling on its staff and students to live out the institution’s values, which mirror those of the universities namesake.
Mandela’s birthday, on 18 July, is celebrated globally through acts of service to commemorate the 67 years of his life that he dedicated to the service of the South African people and the world.
This year, Mandela Day will be extra special for the University community as it comes just two days before the exciting launch of the new name.
It will celebrated with the Mandela Magic Concert, which will be headlined by Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz, where staff and students will entertain their peers at the Indoor Sports Centre at Missionvale Campus.
In living out the University’s values through the #MobilisingMandelaMagic – campaign launching at the concert, staff and students are encouraged to donate goods towards fellow needy students and the neighbouring Missionvale community.
This campaign is the first institution-wide response to Nelson Mandela Day. In the past staff and students have undertaken various initiatives under the 67-minute banner in their respective corners in honour of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, with many to continue doing so.
Staff and students are encouraged to bring along any stationery, bags, dry and tinned food, clothing, sanitary items and much more to the concert, which will be distributed thereafter.
One of the initiatives falling under the #MobilisingMandelaMagic campaign banner is a knitting or crocheting challenge, where those who can are urged to contribute towards handmade blankets to be distributed to our needy communities.
Those who cannot knit, but would like to contribute can donate knitting yarn or make monetary contributions towards the purchase of yarn.
Staff and students can organise themselves into teams of five and challenge other teams to contribute as many blankets as possible. The winning team will be the one who submitted the largest total area of blankets.
Ask friends and colleagues to support your team by donating yarn or to also knit and crochet blankets or blocks of about 1.2 metres by 1.6 metres in size.
“It is in your hands to make the world a better place,” Mandela once said, in calling for the younger generation to take up the call to change the world or the better.
It was in this very spirit that the University’s students called for increased community outreach in line with living out the values of Ubuntu, responsibility and respect.
The University is very proud of the initiative taken by students and remains committed to creating an enabling environment for staff and students to “walk the talk” in living out the University’s, and Madiba’s, values.