South Africa celebrates International Nelson Mandela Day by helping communities

JOHANNESBURG, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The government and citizens of South Africa on Monday celebrated International Nelson Mandela Day by helping local communities.

Government leaders visited various communities to lend a hand to the needy through acts of charity and community development, to respond to a call made by Mandela that everyone honors him by helping their communities, after the declaration of the establishment of International Nelson Mandela Day.

In recognition of the former South African president's contribution to the culture of peace and freedom, UN General Assembly in 2009 declared July 18, Mandela's birthday, to be Nelson Mandela International Day.

Activities included planting of fruit and indigenous trees, as well as establishing food gardens to educate communities on the effect of climate change and food security took place under the theme "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led the commemoration in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape Province, joining Clear Rivers Campaign.

In Orlando West in Johannesburg, where Mandela used to live, 31-year-old Zandi Makhanda provided food to community members in need.

"We've been visiting the community over the last few days to prepare for this day and I'm honored to have used the day useful by helping others," he said.

The 29-year-old resident Lilian Shandu in Tshwane city's Centurion, gave books to young children. A group of book-loving friends came up with the idea to collect books for children whose parents cannot afford to buy them for their children.

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