By Bellah Zulu, ACNS
South Africans from all walks of life are this Thursday expected to form a human chain to honour Nelson Mandela for his achievements in working towards conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation.
In a statment about the coming event, Primate of Southern Africa the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba said the aim of the chain is to "make a very visible expression of commitment to upholding Madiba's dream of breaking down old division between communities and building up a new, united, democratic, non-racial South Africa."
He added, "The aim is to form a human chain along the Klipfontein Road between 1pm and 2pm on July 18, Mandela Day, which will stretch from Athlone Stadium towards Rondebosch and towards Gugulethu, linking areas and communities that were previously kept separate and apart."
The Archbishop also called on all young people of South Africa to come forward and commit to taking up the baton that Madiba's generation is handing over to them. He said, "This is a time we must continue to sow the seeds of love and not destruction so that we can give hope to all in our beautiful country."
In a letter sent to various organisations to raise awareness for the day, the event co-ordinateor, Ruschka Jaffer explained, "This human chain will link together the hands of all those committed to realised Madiba's dream, of a united, democratic, non-racial South Africa.
Young and old people will stand together in peace and reflect on the qualities Madiba espoused and commit to building a country based on the values expressed in our constitution," he added.
The event which is not affiliated to any particular organisation or political party is being organised by ordinary members of civil society, with the support of local radio stations and the Cape Town Inter-faith forum.
Nelson Mandela Day which falls on July 18 every year not only celebrates Nelson Mandela's life, but is also a global call to action for people to recognise their ability to have a positive effect on others around them. It aims to inspire people to embrace the values that Mandela shared.