UJ Institute for the Future of Knowledge

Nelson Mandela’s global reach made him the ultimate symbol of individual soft power

In 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July as “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of Madiba’s contribution to peace and freedom across the world as well as his dedication to the service of humanity in the areas of human rights promotion, reconciliation, conflict resolution, race relations, and social justice.

In marking this year’s celebration, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “Nelson Mandela was a colossus of courage and conviction. A leader of immense achievement and extraordinary humanity. A giant of our times, whose legacy we best honour through action: action to expel the poison of racism, discrimination and hate; action to extinguish the legacies of colonialism; and action to promote equality, human rights and above all, justice… So, as we commemorate Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, let us be animated by his spirit of humanity, dignity and justice … And let us take action to build a better world.”


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