Nelson Mandela century 2018: Be the legacy

July 17, 2018

2018 marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. This provides a unique opportunity for people around the world to reflect on his life and times and to promote his legacy. In 2018 the Nelson Mandela Foundation will seek to create appropriate platforms for such engagement.

Nelson Mandela established the Foundation as his post-presidential office in 1999. As he stepped away from public life he gave us a robust social justice mandate in the areas of memory and dialogue. The Mandela Day campaign was introduced in 2009 as a tool for the world to honour him by interpreting his legacy in the contexts of working to meet the needs of local communities.

By any measure Nelson Mandela’s impact, both locally and globally, has been unparalleled. But the unfinished business of his life-work looms large. The South Africa of his dreams remains tantalisingly out of reach. We will use his centenary year to continue working to make these dreams a reality. And we will strive to fulfil his wish that the Foundation become fully sustainable. He initiated our endowment strategy in 2007 during the lead-up to his 90thbirthday. It would be appropriate to complete the endowment in the year of what would have been his 100th birthday.

Madiba’s dreams require us, in 2018 especially, to focus our work around four primary objectives: the eradication of poverty and inequality, the dismantling of structural racism, the building of institutions of democracy, and the broadening of freedom of information. Core programmes at the Foundation underpin each of these objectives. And delivery of online access to his personal archive before the end of the year will support all of them.

No single person, family, institution or country owns the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Ultimately it belongs to everyone who is working for social justice, wherever they are in the world. Our aim in 2018 is to make that legacy more available to those committed to continuing struggles for justice. The future of humanity hinges on these struggles.

This article was originally published on Nelson Mandela Fondation

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