Thursday, 18 July 2013

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela

Today is the 95th birthday of Nelson Mandela. Sadly he is not in good health but seems to be "steadily improving", spending several weeks in hospital in Pretoria. South Africans are being urged to match the former president and anti-aparteid leader's 67 years of public service with 67 minutes of charitable acts. 
The day starts off with millions of school children across South Africa singing Happy Birthday to Mr Mandela. To mark the former statesman's 67 years as a lawyer, activist, prisoner and president, volunteers will spend 67 minutes renovating schools and orphanages, cleaning hospitals and distributing food to the poor.What a brilliant idea in my view and something which could and should be extended throughout the world, on a weekly/monthly basis if you ask me!
I first became aware of the South African struggle to overcome Aparteid through music. Peter Gabriel released a song on I think his 3rd album in 1980 called "Biko". It quickly became an anthem after Steve Biko a student leader and anti-aparteid activist died in hospital after having being held in police custody. He was arrested under the anti terrorism act and was the 20th person to die in custody in an 18 month period. 
The track inspired me to research and support the struggle along with many other people across the world and hopefully the power of  music played some small part along with Mr Mandela and Steve Biko and many others to bring about such positive change in South Africa.
We can hardly imagine the oppression and struggle that these men and so many others have gone through but to quote the great man himself.
“It always seems impossible until it's done.” ― Nelson Mandela

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