This booklet serves as a special tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the former President of South Africa, affectionately known as Madiba, in recognition of his enduring legacy and untiring fight for the freedom and welfare of humanity. It seeks to draw parallels between his unforgettable call to action speeches and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the United Nations in 2015. The booklet strives to bring to life some of his sayings (before, during and after his 27 years in prison) by matching them with related SDGs as we reach the mid-point for reaching the currently off-track targets for people and planet.
Madiba was the first person to have a day dedicated to honour him by the United Nations General Assembly when it declared 18 July (his birthday) as Nelson Mandela International Day. As aptly noted by the United Nations, the commemoration of Mandela's birthday is "a moment for all to renew with the values that inspired Nelson Mandela. Absolute determination. A deep commitment to justice, human rights and fundamental freedoms. A profound belief in the equality and dignity of every woman and man. A relentless engagement for dialogue and solidarity across all lines and divisions."
The theme for previous and this year's Mandela Day commemoration, "Climate, Food and Solidarity," highlights the pressing challenges of climate change, poverty, and inequality. Through the partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the UN aims to make meaningful contributions that will leave no one behind including through poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, job creation and entrepreneurship, effective governance, sustainable consumption and production patterns, climate change adaptation and mitigation, waste management, just energy transition, and transformed food systems.
As we reflect on Nelson Mandela's words and actions before, during, and following the 2030 SDG Summit (18-19 September during the UN General Assembly in New York), let us remember the power each of us holds to make a difference, as he aptly said, "it's now in your hands". By embodying Mandela's spirit and aligning our efforts with the SDGs, we can create a more sustainable, just, equitable and inclusive world. Let us honor Nelson Mandela's legacy by translating his words into action and striving for a brighter future for all.