Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nelson Mandela 94th birthday celebrations at Rajghat

New Delhi- To Mark Nelson Mandela’s 94th Birthday Celebrations, New Delhi joined the world over in celebrating the life, values and contributions of uTata Nelson Mandela to humanity. Together with Sun Foundation and a bikers’ organization called Free Souls, the South African High Commission inspired hundreds to participate in the Bikers for Mandela Day Ride where participants generously donated to the Touch of Hope Foundation, an Indian NGO providing a humanitarian response to the plight of the HIV/AIDs epidemic in India. In addition, New Delhi, in its numbers responded to the call by the South African High Commissioner Rev. Harris Majeke and Sun Foundation’s Chairman Padma Shri Vikramjit Sahney and dedicated 94 minutes to charity, the Touch of Hope Foundation, in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s age-94 years-a lifetime devoted to humanity.

The Bikers for Mandela Day Ride started at the South African High Commission through to the heart of Delhi to culminate at Satyagrah Mandap, Raj Ghat, New Delhi. Braving the snarling traffic and unpredictable temperament of the monsoon, the bikers, both men and women, contributed to humanity in the best way they know how-by riding their bikes to deliver their generous gifts to the Touch of Hope Foundation. Children of the Sun Foundation and Springdales schools gathered along the path at Raj Ghat with flowers to hand to the bikers and other dignitaries and to greet everyone in the spirit of UBUNTU. It was a moment of pure joy when all the children and guests gathered at Raj Ghat sang “Happy Birthday Madiba! Long live Madiba!”

Raj Ghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, was carefully chosen as the preferred venue due to its significance and symbolism because Mahatma Gandhi had a very influential role in shaping the ideology of Nelson Mandela and the history of South Africa. It was also Mahatma Gandhi who inspired Nelson Mandela with the concept of satyagrah and non violence which led to Mandela introducing “passive resistance” against apartheid.

These few minutes may sound very little but if each one of us took time off to contribute to social development, together a lot could be achieved for a better life for all,” said High Commissioner Rev. Harris Majeke at the event. Speaking on the occasion, Vikramjit Sahney of Sun Foundation also agreed with High Commissioner Majeke and said: “this event has a mission to spread a message of Nelson Mandela to each household worldwide that we must strive for the upliftment of disadvantaged people, non-racialism, and a peaceful global community that is healthy in mind, body and spirit.”

The occasion was also graced by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Smt. Sheila Dikshit and the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Professor Rajmohan Gandhi who shared their heartfelt and inspiring messages on Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi as well as the long standing relationship between South Africa and India. In addition, the sound of music, film and song also added to the joy of the event.

Nelson Mandela International Day is a commemorative campaign with a message calling for individuals, people everywhere, and the world at large to take action, to inspire change, and to make everyday a Nelson Mandela day. “It is a call for people to take responsibility of their communities and give back to humanity in whatever way possible”, said High Commissioner Majeke at a Press Conference promoting Nelson Mandela International Day on 17 July 2012.

Indeed the event on 18 July 2012 echoed those exact sentiments. All in all, the day was truly commemorative in that in honoured the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his spirit, values and message through pure volunteer services to the community. The South African High Commission in New Delhi remains forever humbled by the people of India who each took up the cause of Nelson Mandela International Day and made it their own. Over 30 schools with more than 300 children from schools such as Bluebells and Springdales in New Delhi, and the public united with the South African High Commission in order to commemorative this great man we call Madiba. We are forever thankful to the Government and the people of India who always remind us that together, we can indeed achieve a better life for all.

Together, we take action! Together, we inspire change! Together, we make Every Day, Mandela Day!

Happy Birthday Madiba!

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