Mandela day (The Meaning of) by Anelisa Keke

Mandela day South Africa
Image courtesy of creativedoxfoto at

On 18 July we celebrated Mandela Day; now everyone has a different perception of the meaning of Mandela day. Is it about the man himself? Or is it about what he represents? And what does he represent? Many of us are guilty of swallowing whole any and every interpretation of uTata Mandela’s legacy that the media feeds us.

 On Mandela day our Grant Gunston called us together to contemplate the abovementioned questions, and to share what Mandela day means to us. To many of us, including myself, it was an opportunity to share our experiences (however limited) of Apartheid and the miracle that was the peaceful transition. Without Mandela’s commitment to reason and forgiveness, our history would be very different to what it is today.

 What I appreciated was that acknowledgment was given to those who sacrificed their freedom and their lives to fight for the same ideal. Many of those who made these sacrifices never lived to see the promised land. Many others, like my own father Zolile Hamilton Keke, committed their lives to a non-racial society and taught us that our future lies not in taking up arms, but rather in taking control of the intellectual discourse surrounding pan-African politics and economics. In making these sacrifices they sought to change the way we live, through example.

So dedicating 67 minutes to helping others doesn’t end on Mandela day. It ends when poverty and inequality ends as well. So we all have our work cut out for us.

For more information on Mandela day go here

Leave a Reply