In recognition of Mandela Day on July 18, 2015, South Africa Partners developed programming for students in the Boston area and in East London, South Africa, to reflect on the struggle for civil rights and social justice in both countries as seen through the life and work of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Boston, students participating in the summer camps run by the Summer Urban Program of Harvard’s Philips Brooks House Association were introduced to Nelson Mandela’s biography and to South Africa’s recent history. In East London, South African students were introduced to Martin Luther King, Jr., and compared his leadership and achievements to those of Mandela.
The activities for Mandela Day were designed in consultation with the Summer Urban Program, the leadership of A.W. Barnes and Pefferville Primary Schools in East London and U.S. educators who are alumni of South Africa Partners’ Educator Tour.
On July 18, 2013, more than 300 people gathered at Boston’s historic Old South Church in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. Governor Duval Patrick led the celebration, holding up Mr. Mandela as a living example of the power of leading by love.
Mayor Thomas Menino and leaders from Boston’s social justice community, who were involved in South Africa’s struggle for freedom, honored Mr. Mandela and all those who have struggled throughout the world for equality and freedom from oppression.
South Africa Partners was proud to serve as the convener of the event, in partnership with Old South Church, Boston Pan African Forum, Cathedral of St. Paul and Massachusetts Representatives Byron Rushing and Jason Lewis.
Mandela Day, celebrated throughout the world on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, is meant to inspire individuals to take action and to help change the world for the better and build a global movement for good. The official slogan is “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.” The ethical framework of Mandela Day is “service to one’s fellow human”.
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
—Nelson Mandela from Long Walk to Freedom