South Africans honor Nelson Mandela on centennial of his birth

World Today

Members of the public sit beneath a banner of former President Nelson Mandela, right, where former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. In his highest-profile speech since leaving office, Obama urged people around the world to respect human rights and other values under threat in an address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

The life and legacy of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela is being remembered. It’s been 100 years since his birth. South Africans are marking the centennial of their former president in various ways, including acts of charity. CGTN’s Vauldi Carelse has more from Johannesburg.

Follow Vauldi Carelse on Twitter @vauldicarelse

Johannesburg is a city usually bustling with economic activities. But today, the atmosphere is different.

Many people, in this city of more than 4 million, have taken time out to celebrate International Mandela Day. From handing out food parcels to launching an anti-poverty scheme, many are finding ways to honor the man who would have been 100 today.

“His legacy is that you stand up for what is right,” billionaire diamond magnate Tokyo Sexwale said. “Human freedom, social justice and economic freedom, children’s rights, women’s rights. These are all the things that Madiba stands for, and today and everyday, as we celebrate Mandela Day, we keep that legacy in mind.”

“What he has taught most of us is forgiveness and working hard not just for yourself but sacrificing yourself to help those in need especially the poor, especially the children,” said actress Mara Louw.

A quick visit to the Mandela house in Vilakazi Street is enough to see that the legacy he left will be celebrated well beyond today’s tributes. People were urged to live the values he embodies.

While there is some debate about how best to remember Mandela, one thing is clear: He still unites South Africans, and gives them reasons to celebrate.