Mandela Day has been an informal day of service here in South Africa for several years, where people are asked to contribute 67 minutes in “service to one’s fellow human” in honor of Mandela’s birthday. (One minute for each year of service he gave the country.)
This is the first Mandela Day since Madiba’s death, and there’s definitely an uptick in people talking about how they’ll spend their 67 minutes (or the whole rainy day). Some have criticized this, saying that there should be no glory or pride in charitable gestures–and to be honest, earlier this week I agreed with this. (I also have issues with how so many of the organized programs are in fact models of charity rather than about bringing about institutional change as Madiba himself did, but that is another topic.)
But today, as we all remember and honor him, it seems more like people are sharing their hashtagged 67-minute tweets and selfies as a way of connecting and collectively remembering that we are all deciding the country’s future together in our daily actions. We miss you, tata, and this is a healthy way to express it.