Mandela Day celebrated the world over

Nelson Mandela's legacy was remembered on his birthday with people giving 67 minutes of their time to participate in a social cause which benefits the less fortunate.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Archive Image: Former South African President Mandela attends the 6th Annual Nelson Mandela lecture in Kliptown, Johannesburg in 2008.

Nelson Mandela's legacy was remembered the world over on his birthday on Monday just the way he would have liked it, with people taking small steps to help others and then someone taking a giant leap.

Across South Africa, many people got together and packed meals for the hungry, men took out time from work to paint a rundown school while others read books to children.

They were celebrating Nelson Mandela Day – a day where people are encouraged to take out 67 minutes of their time for a social cause. 

Each minute represents the years the anti-apartheid hero spent fighting for racial equality, peace and social justice in South Africa.

Mandela died in 2003 at the age of 95. 

In India, staff of the South African consultate spent time with students of an underprivileged school. 

The United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 as International Nelson Mandela Day in 2009.

Different NGOs and companies in South Africa had set up camps to pack meals for the needy where hundreds of people offered their help. 

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, who is in South Africa for Mandela Day, said his foundation would donate $5 billion to help efforts to fight HIV AIDS in Africa. 

Mandela was himself vocal about the consequence of HIV, Gates said in a speech at University of Pretoria on Sunday. 

"When his [Mandela's] own son died of AIDS…rather than stay silent Nelson Mandela announced it publicly because he knew stopping the disease required breaking down the walls of silence."

Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates arrives to deliver the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on the eve of Mandela Day under the theme "Living Together." (Reuters)

In his message, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said devoting time to community service activities can help build a peaceful, equitable world. 

"Tutor a child. Feed the hungry. Clean up a site or care for your environment. Volunteer to serve at a hospital or community centre. Be part of the Mandela movement to make the world a better place."

The UN staff in New York also donated clothes. 

Musician Stevie Wonder also joined the day's celebrations being held at UN headquarters. 

The UN has also posted a list of 67 suggestions of what people can do to commemorate the day. 

Making a friend, talking to a terminally ill patient or taking an abandoned dog for a walk were few of the things suggested. 

Some people exercised together to mark their participation. 

The day, just like Mandela's life, was also not without tragedy.

South African rally driver Gugu Zulu died while taking part in a Mandela Day trekking event on Mount Kilimanjaro.

TRTWorld, Reuters