Nelson Mandela Foundation urges youth to join hands and be catalysts for change

todayJuly 19, 2023 152

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The Nelson Mandela Foundation marked the late stateman’s 105th birthday celebrations yesterday in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, by planting trees alongside delegates from several organisations, including the United Nations and Nelson Mandela University.

The organisation says by planting trees, young people took meaningful action to alleviate poverty and food insecurity.

It has urged young people to join hands and be the catalysts for change.

The event was part of the global celebrations of Nelson Mandela Day, observed annually in honour of the life and legacy of the struggle stalwart.

Mandela spent 27 years behind bars before becoming South Africa’s first democratically-elected President and every year on his birthday – South Africans are encouraged to give 67 minutes of their time to do charitable work in his honour.

The 67 minutes symbolically represent the number of years the former President fought for human rights and the abolition of apartheid.

Keynote speaker and Nelson Mandela Foundation Board member, Alice Brown, stressed that Africa’s food insecurity challenges cannot be addressed without first tackling climate change.

She says the two social-ills go hand in hand, adding that climate change leads to unfavourable farming conditions, which eventually result in the food insecurity the world is currently experiencing.

The foundation aims to plant one million trees and food gardens globally to combat food insecurity and climate change.

The foundation’s Head of Mandela Day, Gushwell Brooks, has emphasised working alongside communities to achieve long-term solutions to these challenges.


Young black women working at the Afrika Tikkun Farm, where the celebrations were held, say they’re determined to do their part in the often white male-dominated agricultural sector.

They say the Afrika Tikkun farm is more than just a community feeding scheme to them.

The young women say the farm has given them the opportunity to grow their business know-how and simultaneously give back to their communities.


Young people have been encouraged to plant a tree or join community clean ups, as South Africans continue to play their part in building a united society that respects the rights of all as envisioned by the late first President of post-apartheid South Africa.

There was a mixed bag of reactions to the day’s celebrations though, with some South Africans saying while it is important to honour Madiba’s sacrifice, other struggle stalwarts should also be given their rightful place in the country’s history books. Article by Naomi Kobbie

Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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