Today we ask you to join us on a reflective meditation about the lessons of Mandela:
With thanks for words by Boyd Varty and artwork by Roxy Burrough.
Download the drawing of Mandela here, our Mandela Day gift to you.
The History of Mandela Day at Londolozi
It has been our tradition, for many years, to celebrate Mandela Day and this year is the first year we are doing it without our guests, who we miss dearly. Since 2009, Mandela Day has been celebrated each year on July 18th, Nelson Mandela’s birthday. This day was officially declared as Mandela Day by the United Nations, as a global call to action for people to celebrate the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world. On this day you are invited to do 67 minutes of service, a movement in which one is asked to donate one minute for every year he spent as a public figure, as a gesture of solidarity to a shared humanity.
This year we started a few days early so that we could share this invitation with all of you at this challenging time in the world. Mandela taught the Londolozi family first-hand about his thinking and way of living. Immediately following his release from prison, he visited Londolozi as a guest of the Varty family, and stayed for weeks as part of a recuperation period before resuming his role as leader of the African National Congress. From that day, Londolozi has endeavoured to live by and share his values.
In 2009 Londolozi built Mandela’s Way (also known as Freedom’s Way) a piece of land-art by Simon-Max Bannister that forms the central pathway through the Londolozi Village, lined with indigenous trees and shrubs, planted by the Londolozi Family over the years. Along the path are words carrying small reminders of Madiba’s values.
Londolozi has always had the vision to “create a space and a place where people can become the best versions of themselves and to become a voice for right relations between people, the Earth, and it’s wild inhabitants”. Mandela’s Way aided in this vision by always reminding the Londolozi Family of Nelson Mandela – a true role model. Guests, who visit Londolozi’s Learning Centre or the Ubuntu Hut for storytelling, walk along this path and are reminded of Madiba and will witness firsthand the pivotal role they, as guest at Londolozi, play in opening up opportunities for individuals, families and children to become the best version of themselves in Londolozi’s Futuristic African Village.
Over the past few years Londolozi has dedicated the 67 minutes of service to community projects which can be done together, as a family. These 67 minutes are based on the term “ubuntu”, the “I am because of you” philosophy, something which remains close to Londolozi’s heart. Every person has the power to change the world, and it starts with the simplest acts of kindness.
This year we gathered to help with our communal gardens in the Londolozi Futuristic African Village. Normally these gardens would provide greens for the Londolozi Kitchen in our Forage to Fork process, but during this quiet period we’ve given these gardens some love and they are now producing a wide variety of vegetables for the Londolozi Village. 67 minutes were put to good use as teams assembled to begin composting, raking leaves, planting seeds in our vegetable nursery and planting sausage trees and marula trees in and around our village sourced from our indigenous nursery.
This Mandela Day we hope you find the Mandela inside yourself. Perhaps you are raising one. Perhaps you’re teaching one or influencing one. Mandela asks us all today to step beyond the stories, to humanise the moment, or to be a local disruption in the systemic algorithm towards love and towards life. How will you celebrate your 67 minutes of service this year? Share with us in the comments section below.