Nelson Mandela Poster
“We lost Nelson Mandela a few months ago, but it still feels like he is among us, that he will always be among us”, said UNIC Director, Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman at the Mandela Day celebrations at Springdales School, Pusa Road which, through its Africa Club, has been celebrating this day since 1971. “I guess it is because of his stupendous legacy, his ever-present good cheer, and his vibrant optimism”, she continued. She congratulated the school on its activities which encourage everyone to celebrate Mandela’s life, spirit and extraordinary courage.
The students had prepared wonderful songs and drama, poetry and multimedia presentations on Nelson Mandela’s life, linked to the great leader Gandhi, both of whom cast out hatred from their hearts and converted it into genuine understanding, acceptance and forgiveness. Lorna Daniels, Political Counsellor from the South African High Commission reminded everyone that the United Nations Day calls for 67 minutes of service to humanity to commemorate Mandela’s legacy. She said that she felt invigorated by the fact that people were coming together to achieve something. South Africa had chosen the theme of cleanliness for this year, in a very broad sense: clean air, clean environment, cleaning rivers. “In a small way we can all leave behind a legacy and undertake small actions towards positive change,” Ms. Daniels added.
School Principal Ameeta Mulla Wattal proudly presented the various distinctions won by the students and spoke of the history of Africa Week at the school. The students had prepared posters, poems, art, inter-school multimedia competitions: in short, it was an exercise in spreading awareness on culture, sports, political conflict and peace, and showcasing the similarity of the struggles of both Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. Nelson Mandela’s belief that “someone in South Africa will take up my ideas” has proved prophetic, except that it is not just in South Africa but the world.
This kind of annual activity keeps the spirit of Nelson Mandela alive, and at the same time creates bridges for culture and peace between continents. “In doing all this” said Ms. Mehra-Kerpelman, “you have proved that you, the young people, the students, are the greatest champions [of peace]. You have the energy and you can approach a challenge with fresh perspectives”. As UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon says in his message for Mandela Day this year, “Apartheid is gone – thanks to Nelson Mandela, countless other individuals and the proud actions of the United Nations. But our planet and its people still face terrible threats – poverty, discrimination, climate change, conflict and more. Nelson Mandela Day is a call to action… together we can give great meaning to our celebration by paving the way for a better future”.