In commemoration of his sixty-seven years of service, the Nelson Mandela Foundation is launching the 67 Minutes for Mandela campaign to be held on Mandela Day on 18 July 2012. The foundation is calling upon everyone worldwide to take 67 minutes out of their lives “to make an imprint and help change the world around them.”
Since 1942, Nelson Mandela campaigned for human rights in South Africa and fought towards the anti-apartheid cause. After twenty-seven years of imprisonment on charges for sabotage, Mandela was elected President in 1994, accomplishing a democracy in South Africa. In 2007, Nelson Mandela created The Elders – a group of eminent global leaders chaired by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, also the Honorary Chair of the AWEPA Eminent Advisory Board. The Elders, whose goal is to work on solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems like climate change, HIV/AIDS, and poverty, joined the former president of South Africa in a special video message of support for Nelson Mandela International Day.
Coinciding with the human rights activism occurring in South Africa at the time, AWEPA was founded in 1984. Built on the premise that apartheid was in violation of human rights, AWEPA mobilised politicians in democratically elected European parliaments to put an end to apartheid through a series of laws which facilitated effective sanction policies and monitored the implementation of these laws by enforcing accountability. Through this involvement, AWEPA played a role in the elimination of apartheid and the occupation of Namibia.
Since the end of apartheid AWEPA has broadened its focus, working in close partnership with African Parliaments, from the horn to the cape, strengthening parliamentary democracy. On the occasion of Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday, and inspired by his 67 years of service, AWEPA calls upon its 1900 Members in national parliaments of Europe, and in the European Parliament itself, to join the 67 Minutes for Mandela campaign by placing Africa high on the political agenda in your respective parliaments and by supporting human rights and democracy building.
Some Ideas of What Parliamentarians Can do in 67 Minutes?
- Organise an activity in parliament focused on promoting human rights, peace and stability in Africa.
- Ask your governments to take Africa and in particular, democracy building, peace and stability, and sustainable social and economic progress in their development programs.
- Get involved in European-African knowledge exchange opportunities such as organising a meeting with African embassies and diaspora organisations.
- Mobilise the media through: Writing an editorial piece for www.awepa.org, creating a short video about Mandela Day in your parliament, or using photography to display the life of Nelson Mandela in your parliament.
For more ideas on how to contribute visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
We request AWEPA Sections to send their 67 Minutes for Mandela to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may publish your efforts online.