Ekurhuleni – Over the past 10 years, Nelson Mandela International Day has enjoyed global solidarity and support to change the lives of millions of people for the better – continuing the work of Nelson Mandela.

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mandela Day, the Nelson Mandela Foundation marks this anniversary with a shift in approach and strategy for the next 10 years.

“We always have to go back and remind ourselves why we did Mandela Day. When this initiative started, we started in New York and Johannesburg with a little less than a thousand people who participated. Today, we talk about over 140 countries that mark Madiba’s legacy in one form or another,” says the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Sello Hatang.

The initial Mandela Day strategy asked people to give up the 18th of July to do good every year. The new strategy titled, The Next Chapter, will focus on continuing to harness research and dialogue to build a sustainable impact for those who need it most and commits us to take more long-term, sustainable and collaborative action against poverty and inequality. The strategy has five key focus areas, which are Education and Literacy; Food and Nutrition; Shelter; Sanitation; and Active Citizenship.

“When we hosted Thomas Piketty at the 2015 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, he indicated that for us to begin to break intergenerational poverty and inequality, we have to start with education,” says Hatang.

This year the Foundation partnered with the Habitat for Humanity and built 45 houses in Ekurhuleni, 12 in Cape Town and 10 in KwaZulu-Natal and renovated ECD.

The Foundation was joined by the City of Ekurhuleni; Habitat for Humanity; the Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation; Gauteng Provincial Government; South African Local Government Association; CNBC Africa; the SABC, millions of South Africans and other organisations in giving their time to impact those in need.

Speaking at the housing build project in Palm Ridge, Katlehong, Gauteng Human Settlements MEC, Lebogang Maile said the project demonstrates the work that the different spheres of government, together with other partners, can do by working together.

“On this project we have about 6 000 stands in which we intend to build houses and about 2 000 service stands for people who want to build their own homes. The project is progressing well, is on track and we hope that it will be an example for other housing projects that have initiated in the area,” said Maile.

To reduce hunger in families and eliminate malnutrition, JoJo tanks were donated to agriculture initiatives and food gardens established in communities.

The day also commemorated Nelson Mandela with a celebration event tracking Madiba’s footprints in Ekurhuleni and a moment to honour senior citizens.

“Today, through the millions of people that participate in Mandela Day, we can look back over the last 10 years and say that the initiative has been success,” said Hatang.

Through Mandela Day, the Foundation and its partnerships will be testing models of best practice to eradicate poverty and inform the Foundation’s strategy in advocacy for policy intervention.

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