As Africa and the entire global community, yesterday celebrated the centenary anniversary of the legend, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, we were once again reminded that a free world is one in which everyone has access to equal opportunities irrespective of their age, gender, sexual or religious orientation and social status.
Every year on July 18 — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the world marks Nelson Mandela International Day, an annual international day adopted by the United Nations. Mandela day is more than a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, it is a global movement that recognizes the impact his life’s work and lessons have and can have in ushering us into a new era and change our world for the better.
It’s a call to emulate the values Mandela stood for.
The very creation of the Nelson Mandela Gardens also known as Garden of 95 Trees was to extol the ideals of the reverend icon – Nelson Mandela and the well-being of the African man. This year, we collaborated with The South African Embassy and Delta State Government to celebrate Madiba. Five selected individuals representing the youth, the government, the diplomatic sector, the private industry and myself will each plant a tree to bring the number of trees in the garden from 95 to 100 trees.
As part of the day’s celebration, we also visited the Mother of Divine Grace Orphanage home to deliver gift items provided by Shoprite in a bid to show that everyone matters in the society we are building.
This year’s theme ‘Be the legacy’ is a call for more Mandelas to rise up and demand equality, for justice and for the liberation of all. The reason for focusing on young people once again stems from one of our favourite quote by the man being honored; ‘It is time for the next generations to continue our struggle against social injustice and for the rights of humanity. It is in your hands.’
Nelson Mandela was the epitome of bravery, the embodiment of courage, a great man that will be missed severely by the country he fought for, friends, family, and well-wishers. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
If there is anything Nigerians can take away from the life Nelson Mandela lived, it was in the way he focused on his mission to emancipate his people and didn’t stop until he successfully achieved that goal.
Madiba as he’s fondly called taught us that to lead peacefully one must be ready to forgive unconditionally. In his own words, “I am working now with the same people who threw me into jail, persecuted my wife, hounded my children from one school to the other… and I am one of those who is saying, ‘Let us forget the past, and think of the present.’”
The Nelson Mandela Day event at Asaba was well attended by dignitaries from all walks of life including the Secretary of the State government in Asaba, Hon. Festus Ovie-Agas, Chief of Staff, Mr Tam Brisibe, South African Consul General in Lagos, Amb. Darkey Africa; members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and many more.
Mandela Day is not a holiday. It is a day for all of us to opt into humanity – to roll up our sleeves and play an active role in building our communities. This is an opportunity for each of us to share Nelson Mandela’s vision of a better future for all.
About the Garden
Nelson Mandela Gardens also known as the Garden of 95 Trees is the 5th concept of its kind in the world that extols the ideals of the reverend icon – Nelson Mandela and the well-being of the African man. The Garden which was conceived by internationally renowned environmentalist and builder, Dr. Newton Jibunoh is a conservation centre that espouses the virtue of nature, relaxation, and comfort to the delight of her guests. The Garden sits on 14,414 acres of choice land within the perimeter of Asaba International Airport, located in Delta State in the Midwest region of Nigeria.