South Africans commemorate Mandela Day

South African government, political parties and civil societies on Sunday commemorated the Nelson Mandela International Day by doing good to the community.

President Cyril Ramaphosa joined thousands of other citizens to take part in a clean-up campaign in Soweto, Johannesburg as part of his Mandela Day initiative.

His first stop was at the Ndofaya Mall in Meadowlands which was among the shopping centers looted and vandalized during last week’s unrest. At least 10 people lost their lives at the mall.

Ramaphosa also visited the Maponya mall which was the only shopping center in the area that was spared from looting as community members surrounded and protected it. He thanked young people who were at the forefront of shielding the mall from looters.

The government has been appealing to citizens across the country to help in the clean-up campaign.

“You can encourage your friends to lend a hand in the #cleanUpSA initiative to clean up the damage caused by public violence or donate food to those in need. Community formations, NGOs and faith-based organizations can also help by ensuring that the destitute, and the needy are provided with basic necessities,” said acting government spokesperson Michael Currin.

Sylvia Graham from Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) said that the NMF on Sunday donated food parcels to the Soweto Home for the Aged and Ikageng Itireleng Aids Ministry, a social welfare center in Soweto.

“In the past week we had instability and difficulties and we are calling on everyone not to look away, make every day a Mandela Day. We encourage South Africans and the international community to donate to the NMF with non-perishable foods since our focus this year is food security. We have other programs on the website on how one can assist,” Graham told Xinhua.

She called on the people to help feed the vulnerable children, the aged and the sick.

Graham said the NMF also joined the Gauteng Provincial government to clean after looting to help rebuild the country.

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe who is also the chairperson of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), when addressing the communities in KwaZulu-Natal, called on the community to shun fake news and work to rebuild the country.

“There is nothing revolutionary about attacking the factory and destroying the people’s livelihoods. Imagine people will now have to pay transport fares to travel and buy basic foods after the burning of the malls and shops,” he said.

The Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day in honor of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on July 18, Mandela’s birthday.