Make every day a Mandela Day

5 minutes read
By Lauren Hansen, Marketing Manager: Africa, Top Employers Institute

Mandela Day is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on Mandela's birthday, 18 July. By dedicating 67 minutes of their time - one for every year of Mandela's service - people can give back to the world around them and make a contribution to global humanitarianism.

Nelson Mandela has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years, beginning in 1942 when he first started to campaign for the human rights of every South African. His life has been an inspiration to the world, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said.

Mandela said at the time of the campaign’s launch that he would be “honoured if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation”.

The Top Employers Institute Africa team is planning to do just that. The team will be dedicating time and resources to make sandwiches to be distributed to people living on the streets in Cape Town.

There are many ways for organisations and individuals to get involved. The Mandela Day official website provides many ideas, including:

  • Put together stationary packs (pens, stickers, coloured paper, scissors, etc.) for teachers at an under-resourced school
  • Do a neighbourhood clean-up armed with plastic gloves and black bags
  • Volunteer your time at a Haven Night Shelter
  • Make ‘care kits’ (including a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, face cloth, etc.) for patients at a nearby government hospital
  • Research an issue you would like to find out more about and then share your findings with friends on social media
  • Give blood
  • Become an organ donor
  • Baby-sit for a single parent
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Tutor someone who needs help learning your mother tongue
  • Donate your old computer to an under-resourced school

CSR has always been high on the agenda for Top Employers, this includes Mandela Day initiatives. We reached out to some of our Top Employers to find out how they will be celebrating the day:

SAP Mandela Day Inaugural 67-minute VIRTUAL Design Thinking Sprint, an innovative approach to volunteering, to benefit Rays of Hope

With the constraints placed on organisations by the COVID-19 pandemic, SAP Africa has adopted a ground-breaking, innovative, and safe approach to provide employees with a unique volunteering opportunity on Mandela Day 2020. The organisation is hosting, what can be considered, a first Mandela Day 67-minute virtual design thinking sprint. SAP is partnering with the globally recognised Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town.  in partnership with Siyafunda Community Technology Centres [hyperlink] to deliver the Mandela Day programme.  The design thinking activity will support Rays of Hope, based in Alexandra, Johannesburg, in close proximity to SAP offices.  As design thinking is both an ideology and a process, concerned with solving complex problems in a highly user-centric way, SAP employees will be called upon to utilise their knowledge, experience and skills to assist Rays of Hope to address the following challenge “ How can Rays of Hope enable Alex youth to thrive in a world where Covid-19 has deepened the inequality gap?”

SAP Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Alexandra Van der Ploeg said that “SAP’s aspirational goal is to create a significant and sustainable social impact in three core areas:

  • Building digital Skills
  • Powering best-run Non-Governmental Organisations & Social Enterprises, and
  • Connecting employees with purpose

Mandela Day provides our most valuable resource, our employees, with a unique opportunity to support social impact in all three core areas of our CSR strategy.”

In addition, SAP will also support Rays of Hope in establishing the #Hope4Alex programme office, which enables the organisation to support vulnerable families and residents of Alexandra through three streams, namely the educational and pastoral centre, the general centre office and the social workers and counselling centre. On the digital literacy front, SAP will further support the continued digital skills building journey of Rays of Hope, its partner organisations and residents of Alexandra beyond Mandela month, in partnership with Siyafunda CTC, via a virtual learning platform. 

Participating SAP employees both in Africa and globally, will give up their time for approximately 100 minutes, to include the introduction, framing of the challenge, the design sprint, and reflections on the proposed solution.


With no end to the hunger crisis in sight, RCL FOODS’ DO MORE FOUNDATION has committed to its biggest goal yet: to enable 1 million hot Rainbow Chicken meals to be donated to the hungry this Mandela Day.

In order to do this, the Foundation needs to make its circle of partners even bigger – and is calling on individuals and businesses across South Africa to #GiveItUp to DoMore for the cause.

“Children were particularly close to Nelson Mandela’s heart, and our Foundation is driven by a commitment to creating better tomorrows for them. With the lockdown resulting in school feeding schemes being closed to nearly 10 million learners, they are a particularly vulnerable group we are reaching out to,” says DO MORE FOUNDATION Executive, Warren Farrer.

Between 13 and 18 July 2020 the Foundation will be partnering with 329 soup kitchens – affiliated to  organisations such as Meals on Wheels, Afrika Tikkun, Save the Children and the Department of Social Development – to provide the 1 million hot Rainbow chicken meals to the poorest of the poor, including young children.


“Partnerships and collaborations enable us to DO MORE than we could on our own, and this campaign is no different. We are calling on other companies and individuals to partner with us and #GiveItUp to DoMore for Mandela Day,” says Farrer.

Read more on how you can #GiveItUp here

Dimension Data

One of the goals of Nelson Mandela Day is the provision of quality education for children and Dimension Data are committed to making education accessible to the youth.

This Mandela Day they have partnered with Qhubeka who believe that bicycles change lives, to help raise funds to provide bicycles to children in our communities, so that they can get to school faster, increasing their access to education.

Dimension Data have invited their employees to do their part by spending 67 minutes of their time on Saturday the 18th of July, by either walking, running, or cycling and to raise funds to support this worthy cause. By donating their time, passion, and energy, the employees are making a tremendous difference to the lives of those who may otherwise struggle to achieve their ambitions.

They chose to support the Qhubeka initiative for 2020 to ensure that we remain socially apart, yet socially connected.


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Make every day a Mandela Day

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