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"It is easy to break down and destroy.
The heroes are those who make peace and build." — Nelson Mandela

July 18 marks international Nelson Mandela day, celebrated on Mandela's birthday around the world since the UN declared the day in 2009. The international day stands both for the celebration of the life of Mandela, who was the first democratically elected President of South Africa and the first black president, elected in 1994, and invites us all to make a difference in our communities through direct action.

"Everyone has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better! Mandela Day is an occasion for all to take action and inspire change," writes the UN.

Celebrating Mandela day amidst a global pandemic, which has revealed the deepest cracks in our world, couldn't be more timely. Inequality is rife in 2020, despite the progress we have witnessed in the past.

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The good

Mandela changed how we acknowledge equality...

And what we see as inequality. Alongside the inclusion of Nelson Mandela International Day by the United Nations, July 18 2009 also saw the adoption of a new resolution that recognises Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in "conflict resolution; race relations; promotion and protection of human rights; reconciliation; gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups; the fight against poverty; the promotion of social justice. The resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world."

For those of you who enjoy flexing their brain muscles, the UN has prepared a quiz of general knowledge around Mandela, his fight for equality and against the apartheid in South Africa. You can access it HERE.

The bad

Tackling inequality: a long journey ahead

Every year on Nelson Mandela International Day, a significant and influential world figure addresses the world through the Annual Mandela Lecture. This year, UN Secretary-General Antoniò Guterres will address the lecture in the context of the global pandemic we're currently going through.

Titled 'Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era', the Secretary-General will expand on the many various layers of inequality that are being exposed and exacerbated by COVID-19.

Gutteres is set to outline the threat posed to our well-being and our future by historic injustices and current trends, from colonialism and patriarchy to racism and the digital divide, and make concrete recommendations for a more equitable, just and sustainable way forward in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

South Africa, as one example among countless others, has been facing the unfathomable inequality of healthcare as millions are left to fend for themselves during this global health crisis.

You can register to virtually attend Gutteres' lecture tomorrow HERE.


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by Yair Oded

Support Gift of the Givers as they provide critically needed medical and humanitarian support to refugees in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peace and war

Investment in democratic institutions pays dividends in Malawi

by Cyril Zenda

After successfully challenging election results, the opposition goes on to win the poll re-run, a development that is seen as a lesson for Africa on the importance of strong democratic institutions.
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The "baby factories" of Nigeria

by Bob Koigi

In 2018 Nigerian authorities rescued over 160 babies held in unregistered orphanages at the country’s capital in a raid that caught global attention while shining the spotlight on the sophisticated human trafficking racket in the West African country.

Justice for Eritrea political prisoners

by Bob Koigi

In Eritrea thousands of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience have been held incommunicado and without trial.
zimbabwe torture

Torture in Zimbabwe: Grave concerns over renewed abductions

by Cyril Zenda

The alleged abduction and torture – including sexual violation – of three female opposition members by suspected security agents is the latest of a series of unsolved cases in which opponents of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government are exclusively victims.
Country focus
South Africa

Situated at the very tip of Africa, South Africa has the continent's largest and most developed economies. The country's moniker is the 'rainbow nation' because of its ethnically diverse population – a cause for celebration today which carries a darker past within it. Until 1994, the year Nelson Mandela was elected President in the country's first democratic elections, South Africa was ruled under a white minority government which enforced an apartheid policy, advocating for complete race segregation.

With a population of 55.5 million citizens, South African has 11 languages officially spoken across the country, including English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa, and Zulu. While the economy, culture, and science are on the rise, South Africa's people are struggling with severe economic inequality and experiencing the extremes of climate change, with high impacting droughts and serious water shortages as a result. South Africa's rich wildlife is also facing severe problems due to poaching syndicates, fueled by poverty. These issues constitute ongoing major challenges in need of innovation and strong governance in the years to come.