Happy birthday "Madiba"
Today, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Nelson Mandela celebrates his 94th birthday. People around the world are celebrating “Nelson Mandela Day” by dedicating 67 minutes of their time to help others, in honor of the 67 years that “Madiba” dedicated to fighting against apartheid.
27 of these years were spent as a political prisoner, notably on Robben Island, the island penitentiary where the South African government sent its most serious political opponents for life. Symbolizing the triumph of democracy over racism and oppression, Robben Island is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Following his release in 1990, Mr. Mandela made a historic appeal to UNESCO to resolve “frightening” educational crisis that afflicted apartheid victims, as the basis for a new non-racial South African democracy.
For his unfailing commitment to democracy, equality, dignity and learning, he won the 1992 UNESCO-Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize, many of whose past laureates have gone on to win the Nobel Prize for Peace. 40 years after withdrawing from UNESCO for interfering with its “racial problems”, South Africa rejoined under Mr. Mandela’s leadership in 1994, almost immediately after he helped to abolish apartheid.
Let us honor this most generous of men and act on the values that he championed.