Nelson Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela Day, also known as Nelson Mandela International day or simply Mandela Day, is an international holiday that celebrates and honors Nelson Mandela – a man who fought against social injustice for almost 70 years.

This holiday is celebrated annually on July 18th on the birthday of Nelson Mandela. It’s been an official United Nations holiday since 2009.

History of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18th, 1918 to Nonqaphi Nosekeni, his mother, and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, his father. 12 years later, his father died and he became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place at Mqhekezweni. While he was there, he listened to the stories of his elders who talked about the valor of the ancestors who struggled for their freedom.

He knew that one day he would like to make a contribution to his people’s struggle for freedom. Mandela would go on to start his studies at the University College of Fort Hare to attain a B.A. Degree. However, he never obtained his degree because he was expelled for his part in a student protest.

Upon his return to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni, the King threatened that if he didn’t return to University College, then he was going to arrange a marriage for him. This prompted him to run to Joannesburg – where he worked as a mine security officer. Eventually, he did complete his studies through the University of South Africa and received his B.A.

During the 1940s, he became a member of the African National Congress party. As a member, he would go on to become the leader in not only a number of peaceful protests but also in a number of armed conflicts against the white minority’s regime in South Africa – a country that was severely racially divided.

His actions would eventually land him in prison and it is there that he would spend almost 30 years of his life. This made him the icon of the anti-apartheid movement, not only for other South Africans but for people all over the world. He was released in 1990 and helped eradicate apartheid in 1994. He then went on to become the first black president of South Africa.

History of Nelson Mandela Day

On July 18th, 2009, the first Mandela Day was launched in New York City in the United States. Later that same year, the United Nations decided to make it official by adopting a resolution making July 18th an international holiday to be observed annually. On November 10th, this resolution was adopted and the first official Nelson Mandela Day would be celebrated in July of 2010.

Nelson Mandela Day Customs & Traditions

While Nelson Mandela Day celebrates his life and achievements, many people feel that it should be used for much more than that. Many people see it as a call to action for them to improve the lives of the people around them.

They will do this by volunteering or taking part in protests. Also, people often spend this day watching movies, going to art exhibits or attending seminars that highlight the life of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement.

Where is it celebrated?
South Africa (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 18 Thursday
Next year (2025)
July 18 Friday
Last year (2023)
July 18 Tuesday
Appreciation & Honor, United Nations