No matter how small your action, Mandela Day is about changing the world for the better, just as Nelson Mandela did every day.

What are you doing to make the world a better place?

What are you doing to make every day a Mandela Day by taking action against poverty?


As the world reflects on Nelson Mandela’s legacy, we give thanks for his life, his leadership and his devotion to humanity and to humanitarian causes.

Nelson Mandela saw himself first and foremost as a servant of South Africa’s people, to whom he felt he owed a duty, and who he led by example.

The genesis of our mandate as the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and our work, stems from Mandela’s passing on the torch of public service to everyone. “It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all,” he said.

Positive change was the gift left to all of us by Nelson Mandela, but it can only become a living legacy if we take up his challenge.

In the spirit of Madiba and his vision to spread social justice and freedom for all, this is your chance to become part of a continuous global movement for good.

Let us all emulate the servant leader we loved by becoming servant leaders ourselves – Madiba change-makers.

By becoming someone who makes every day a Mandela Day by taking action against poverty, you can show others that actions speak louder than words.

Some suggestions of what to do

  • Plant and grow fresh, organic and cost-effective produce in or for vulnerable communities.
  • Plant and grow trees for the well-being of all, with an emphasis on fruit trees in support of food production for vulnerable communities.
  • Invest in sustainable food production platforms to the benefit of vulnerable communities.
  • Embrace home and community planting and growing as a contribution to protecting the environment and addressing the challenge of climate change.

  • Throw a tea party for the children and carers at a children’s home.
  • Offer to mow the lawn and fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice.
  • Research an issue you’d like to find out more about and then share your findings with friends on social media.
  • Pack meals at Canal Walk for under-resourced pre-schools through Stop Hunger Now.
  • Support local and visit the Department of Coffee in Khayalitsha for a cup of their finest brew.

  • As an office, make sandwiches to give to people living on the street – and why not sit and have lunch with them while you’re at it?
  • Organise a fun outing for children in an HIV/Aids programme.
  • Offer to read stories to children at a children’s home.
  • Learn First Aid.
  • Give blood.

  • Become an organ donor
  • Host a dinner where the meal budget is R5 per person as a way of identifying with the millions who live below the poverty line.
  • Set up a recycling system for your home.
  • Create a car pool schedule with your colleagues to cut down on carbon emissions.

  • Plant a garden or tree where the whole neighborhood can enjoy it.
  • Clean up a city park.
  • Go on a social media fast for the day and make an effort to get to know people who you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to.
  • Offer to fix things at a local school or organisation (paint, broken windows, etc).
  • Remove graffiti.

  • Help build a home with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Donate educational materials to Breadline Africa.
  • Walk instead of taking your car – and have conversations with some of the people you meet on your way.
  • Hold a teddy bear or book drive for a children’s home.

  • Organise a tea party for care givers.
  • Baby-sit for a single parent.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter.
  • Adopt a pet from an animal shelter.

  • Donate books to your local library.
  • Collect and distribute children’s books to under-resourced schools.
  • Visit a reading club at a nearby school, church or library.
  • Donate magazines and books to an under-resourced home for the elderly.
  • Invite a carer to go on a relaxing outing to the beach or to a park for a picnic.

  • Throw a party for the residents of an old age home.
  • Mow the garden or clean the windows for a senior citizen.
  • Pick up groceries or medicine for an elderly person.
  • Go for a walk with a senior citizen in your community.
  • Teach someone how to use a computer and the Internet.

  • Tutor someone who needs help learning your mother tongue.
  • Donate your old computer to an under-resourced school.
  • Hold a mini-Olympics at an under-resourced school.
  • Take public transport for the day.
  • Give Beth Uriel a call and find out more about becoming a mentor or tutor for the year.

  • Offer to attend a high school class to talk to students about your career.
  • Take a course to become a Lifeline/Childline counsellor.
  • Knit a blanket for someone in need.
  • Bake cookies and take them to a police station for the police officers.
  • Write a letter to a newspaper editor about an issue you care about.

  • Blog about a non-profit organisation that needs support.
  • Offer your skills (finance, marketing, customer service, etc.) to help an organisation run more efficiently.
  • Organise a prayer meeting with family and friends to pray for our country.
  • Host a movie night for friends. (Click here for a list of documentaries on social justice.)
  • Purchase U-turn vouchers to give to people living on the street.

Over the past decade, Mandela Day has enjoyed global support and solidarity as an opportunity to practise commitment to uplifting the dignity of others and as a day to commemorate the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. Mandela Day has moved away from an ad hoc, individualised, reactive approach and moved towards a sustainable, long-term, collaborative methodology to address issues affecting our society.

The new Mandela Day strategy will primarily encourage collaborative partnerships to support initiatives in the areas of education and literacy, food and nutrition, sanitation, shelter as well as active citizenship. This approach will see sharpened focus on early childhood development as a key investment area to make a significant dent in the scourge of poverty

Join the Mandela Day community

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” – Nelson Mandela

By giving a little of your time each day to making a change that’s close to your heart or by giving a little of your time to make a difference to the life of someone else, you can start changing the world around you.

There are so many ways to make a difference.

Start with what you are passionate about and where you know your actions will have a lasting impact.

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Spread the word

The Mandela Day campaign is a celebration of our collective power to create a global movement for good and make a positive impact on the world.


You can add to the momentum of the initiative by telling as many people as possible about it.

Use your own network of family, friends, media, corporates and organisations to get involved and make a difference. Share your actions on social media, especially on Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July.

Do you know somebody who serves every day?

Can you think of someone, or a group or organisation that has made a positive change in your community?

Share their good deeds via social media, using the hashtag #ActionAgainstPoverty #MandelaDay.