The City of Nelson will join municipalities around the world in recognizing Nelson Mandela International Day annually on July 18 — the birthday of the former South Africa president and anti-apartheid leader.
The United Nations chose the day to honour Mandela’s legacy in 2009, and since his death last month the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has been urging cities like Nelson, who had not already done so, to officially add it to their calendars.
City council agreed during a recent meeting that the day should be recognized in Nelson and that each year on July 18 residents will be encouraged to devote at least 67 minutes of their time to community service — one minute for each of Mandela’s years in public service.
Councillor Donna Macdonald liked the idea of honouring Mendela’s legacy by encouraging local volunteerism.
“I like that we can tie the two together: both remembering somebody who’s been recognized as a great leader around the world and that notion of doing out part within our own community,” she said.
Councillor Robin Cherbo was also pleased to have the day recognized and pointed out that Mandela had many allies in Canada.
He was the first foreign leader awarded the Order of Canada in 1998 and in 2001 he was given honourary Canadian citizenship.
Mandela died on December 5, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was 95-years-old.