For the past two years, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has dedicated our Mandela Day and Outreach initiatives to addressing the climate crisis and its impact on food security. Our mission? To plant trees and establish community gardens, uniting different segments of society—government, civil society, private capital, and ordinary people — in a collective effort. The mandate was clear: plant fruit trees and indigenous trees and continue this vital work through partnerships with like-minded organizations.

This year, as we celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day, the Foundation takes a global perspective. Rather than merely commemorating Mandela’s birthday, we honour his legacy by actively engaging in community projects. It’s a call he made back in 2009 — one that resonates deeply with the commitment to action over celebration and talkshops.

On June 5, 2024, the launch of Nelson Mandela International Day witnessed a powerful moment. Bishop Ngobeli, Manager of Protected Areas at Joburg City Parks and Zoo, joined forces with TransUnion Representative Regina Blumears to plant 22 trees donated by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Diepsloot. This act symbolized their unwavering dedication to greening urban spaces and fostering food-resilient communities.

And the momentum continues. This Mandela Day, 17 more trees will find their roots at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. Each tree represents one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations—a testament to the interconnectedness of environmental stewardship, social progress, and economic well-being.

So, as we approach Mandela Day 2024, let us ask ourselves: What will we contribute to our communities? How can we honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy through meaningful action? Whether it’s planting a tree, volunteering, or advocating for positive change, let’s make this day count.