“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

– Nelson Mandela

Mandela fought for freedom, peace, and equality.

Today is the fourth year the world celebrates Nelson Mandela Day. On the 90th birthday celebration of Mandela, in Hyde Park in 2008, the UN and the Nelson Mandela Foundation decided that this day should be an annual day to celebrate the life and work of Mandela and of a culture of freedom and peace. The basic idea behind the day is simple: The United Nations calls everyone to give 67 minutes of their day for advocating human rights, whether it means supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community. The 67 minutes are based on the 67 years Nelson Mandela gave of his life fighting for conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace, and reconciliation.

Mandela was born in South Africa, in 1918. He became one of the most well-known anti-apartheid activists, and was imprisoned in 1964 for his views. He spent more than 27 years in prison, during which the political climate of South Africa stormed but essentially stayed unchanged. Straight after his release in 1990, Mandela plunged into his life’s work, and in 1991 was elected the first black president of South Africa. In 1993, he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today’s date commemorates a day in 1976 when ten thousand school children gathered for a march in Soweto, South Africa, to protest the poor quality of their education and demanding the right to be taught in their own language.African Child Hundreds of children were shot and more than a thousand were injured in the protest.

The International Day of the African Child has been celebrated since 1991. It is an important day for campaigning for children’s rights, and for essentials such as health care and education. Moreover, it is a day for African children to celebrate and voice their opinions through drama, poetry, or organized debates. In addition, thousands of football matches for children take place across African countries on this day.

Although every year has its own unique theme, most years so far have highlighted the lack of quality education for children in Africa. The gap between legislation and practice is enormous. All African countries recognize the United Nations declaration of Human Rights and agree that all children are entitled to good, basic education. According to the Right to Education project, however, there are 75 million children in the world who do not have access to basic education, and 150 million children currently enrolled will drop out before completing primary education and least two-thirds of them are girls. Out of the 75 million children approximately 40 million are in Africa.

Watch this video about how Mozambique celebrated International Day for the African Child two years ago.




Today is Africa Day, a day to celebrate African Unity!

Africa Day

Celebrating Africa Day in Dublin

Today’s day commemorates the date in 1963 when the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded. This day celebrates African diversity and success and aims to highlight the cultural and economic potential that exists on the African continent. Sometimes this day is also called African Liberation Day, which highlights the celebration of African freedom from European colonial powers.

Africa Day is often a colourful celebration that includes street marches, speeches, music, poetry, and other forms of cultural entertainment…

According to the WHO, the World Health Organization, in 2012 half of the world’s population was at the risk of Malaria. Every year, this leads to 216 million cases of Malaria and to approximately 655 000 deaths. World Malaria Day

April 25th commemorates World Malaria Day. The theme for 2012 is Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria. This theme has been chosen to remind the public that, although Malaria deaths have been reduced in the last decade (by 30% in Africa, and by 50% outside of Africa), malaria spreads easily and these numbers are fragile.

The day was first observed in 2007, at the sixtieth session of the World Health Assembly, the board of WHO. The United Nations hopes that the existence of World Malaria Day will open discussion for the countries affected by malaria to learn from each other’s experiences. In addition, for further progress, the UN hopes for new donors to set against malaria, for researchers to share their advances with each other, and for sponsors to showcase their efforts.

Congratulations to Zambia  who yesterday won the World
Championship of Nations – The Africa Cup.   And, just as I thought today couldn’t get greyer and gloomier with the our great British weather, along came Patricia, a student of mine at the London Academy of Diplomacy, looking stunningly beautiful in such a bright colourful outfit. Celebrating her county’s success, she brought a touch of sunshine into our lives and her infectious happiness made us smile. Thank you  Zambia – and Patricia, too!

Piracy is a global menace and a huge issue for our maritime community.
This year’s theme for World Maritime Day is ‘Piracy: Orchestrating the Response’, raising awareness of the issue of piracy and encouraging co-operation between the member states to eradicate it. World Maritime Day is celebrated yearly by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), during the last week of September. It is a day to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment. This year the aim is to increase pressure at the political level to secure the immediate release of all hostages being held by pirates. The following objectives will also be pursued during the year…

The 23rd August each year offers the world community the
opportunity to commemorate the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its abolition. Apart from remembering those who suffered as slaves the day highlights the fact that millions still live as slaves in all but name. The UN’s cultural organisation, Unesco, chose the date to commemorate the 1791 San Domingo (Haiti) revolt, which marked the first decisive victory of slaves against their oppressors and led to the creation of the first black independent state.

Bloggers in Africa have are having a riotous time writing tongue-in-

cheek articles with headlines like: Africa to send troops, food parcels to UK as riots spread. I came across an article by Ndesanjo Macha sharing African perspectives on the riots in the UK with a good dose of humour. However, one blogger, Nana Wireko, reminds us about the unpleasant things the British press were saying in the run up to the South African World Cup saying: “When your neighbor is down, don’t kick him but rather help lift him up. The UK press should take a cue from this. It’s a lesson. A very important one!”

In 1991 the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union)

From Candy Johnnie's South Africa Safari

established the Day of the African Child (DAC). The day commemorates the incident when, on 16 June 1976 In Soweto, South Africa, thousands of black school children took to the streets to protest about the inferior quality of their education and to demand their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of them were shot down; and in the two weeks of protest that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand injured.   “This day represents a heroic and courageous fight by African children in order to be ‘heard’ and ‘seen’; and hence celebrating DAC draws attention to the plight of African children today”, said UNICEF.  Find out more information at the BBC ‘on this day’ website page.

Australia and New Zealand are the most generous charitable
givers in the world according to a new report from the Charities Aid Foundation: The World Giving Index 2010. The report demonstrates that charitable behaviour differs immensely across the globe. An act that is considered charitable in one country may be seen as a regular, everyday, activity in another.  However, the research also found that the correlation between happiness and giving is stronger than the correlation between wealth and giving. This means that an individual is more likely to give to charity if they live in a ‘happy’ country, than if they live in a ‘wealthy’ country. Read below and see how your country compares…