July 18th

Nelson Mandela International Day -

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Nelson Mandela International Day, celebrated annually on the 18th of July, stands as a worldwide recognition of the significant contributions made by Nelson Mandela, an influential global statesman. It was sanctioned by the United Nations in 2009 with the purpose of carrying forward Mandela’s ideals and his unwavering commitment towards peace, service, and human rights.

On this significant day, individuals as well as communities across the globe are urged to volunteer 67 minutes of their time towards public service. This duration signifies the long journey of 67 years that Mandela undertook in his relentless fight for social justice, and for the honor and liberty of all individuals.

History of Nelson Mandela International Day

Known as Mandela Day, Nelson Mandela International Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in November 2009. The day holds significant meaning as it marks the birthday of Nelson Mandela on July 18 and celebrates his significant achievements in advocating for democracy and promoting peace globally.

The idea of Mandela Day was initially proposed in 2009 by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the 46664 concerts, which represent Mandela’s prisoner number during his time on Robben Island. The aim was to invite people worldwide to support an official day dedicated to the memory and impactful work of Nelson Mandela.

The ideology behind Mandela Day is layered with Mandela’s own words from 2008. During this time, he encouraged the newer generation to assume leadership roles to rectify prevailing social injustices, uttering, “it is in your hands now.” Rather than a traditional holiday, Mandela Day stands as a tribute to Nelson Mandela, the former South African President, and his enduring values. It acts as a reminder and an encouragement to everyone to strive towards bettering the world before us.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation launched the ‘67 minutes’ initiative to further this cause. The duration signifies the 67 years Nelson Mandela dedicated to serving the public. On this day, individuals are encouraged to donate 67 minutes of their time to assist others in any capacity, thus symbolizing Mandela’s lifelong dedication to service.

As a result, countless participants worldwide engage in various humanitarian activities each year, all aiming to evoke positive change, much like Mandela himself. This could include constructing schools or orphanages, cleaning healthcare facilities, feeding the needy, and many more noble acts, embodying the spirit of Mandela Day.

Nelson Mandela International Day Timeline

Birth of Nelson Mandela

On July 18, Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo, a small village in South Africa.

Defiance Campaign

Mandela, along with others, led nonviolent acts of defiance against racially discriminatory laws.


Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state.

Released from Prison

After 27 years in prison, Mandela was released due to mounting domestic and international pressure.

Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize along with then South African President, F.W. de Klerk, for their work in ending apartheid.

Elected President of South Africa

Mandela was elected as the first black President of South Africa.

Steps Down as President

After serving one term, Mandela stepped down as president and retired from active politics.

Death of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, due to a long-term respiratory infection.

Ideas to Celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day

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Talk and Thoughts on Mandela

Organize an event at your school, college, or local community center where speakers could talk about Mandela’s life, struggles, and principles. This could also include a discussion or debate about his impact on the world.

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Book Reading Session

Gather a few friends and family members to read and discuss Mandela's writings. This can inspire and educate attendees about Mandela's values, struggles, and achievements.

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Visit a Museum or Exhibition

Plan a trip to a museum or exhibition that showcases Mandela's life and works. This can provide a deeper understanding and appreciation for his contributions.

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Charitable Acts

Honor Mandela's legacy of service by volunteering in your community. You can participate in food drives, charity runs, tree planting activities, or cleaning drives, etc. to keep his spirit of giving alive.

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Screen a Documentary or Film

Host a movie night featuring a documentary or film about Mandela's life. This could raise awareness and promote discussions about social justice and racial equality.

8 Interesting Facts About Nelson Mandela


Name Background

Nelson Mandela's birth name was Rolihlahla, which directly translates to 'troublemaker' in English. The name 'Nelson' was given to him by one of his teachers on his first day of school, as it was a common practice in South Africa to give African children English names.


Acting Attorney

Before stepping fully into politics, Nelson Mandela was a professional attorney. He and Oliver Tambo opened the first black legal firm in South Africa, which offered affordable legal advice to those affected by apartheid legislation.


Incarceration Duration

Mandela spent 27 years in prison. His prison number was 46664, which stood for 'prisoner 466 of the year 1964'. In 2002, he founded '46664'—a HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign that's name stands as a reminder of his prison number.


Nobel Peace Prize

Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, which he shared with South Africa's sitting president at the time, F.W de Klerk. They received the award for their joint work in successfully transitioning South Africa towards a democratic society.


Symbolic Rugby Match

During the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa, Mandela famously wore the Springboks jersey, a team predominantly supported by white South Africans, in an ultimate act of racial reconciliation. His gesture symbolized the beginning of a unified South Africa.


Popular Culture

Mandela is a popular figure in film and literature. His life has been depicted in various movies, such as 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' and 'Invictus'. He has also written several books, including his acclaimed autobiography, 'Long Walk to Freedom'.


Honorary Canadian Citizenship

Nelson Mandela is one of the very few people to have been awarded honorary Canadian citizenship, a rare honor bestowed by the Canadian government. He received this recognition in 2001.


Artistic Pursuit in Prison

During his time in prison, Nelson Mandela took up drawing. One of his series, 'Struggles', was made up of five images including 'The Ward', 'The Cell', 'The Lighthouse', 'The Church', and 'The Harbour', focusing on what he could see from his cell.

Nelson Mandela International Day FAQs

Next Nelson Mandela International Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 July 18th Tuesday
2024 July 18th Thursday
2025 July 18th Friday
2026 July 18th Saturday
2027 July 18th Sunday
What is the pattern? Every July 18th

Nelson Mandela International Day Word Search

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