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Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg 18 June 2012
A call has been made on the world to sing a special Happy Birthday song for former President Nelson Mandela on his 94th birthday. The international icon celebrates his birthday on Wednesday, 18 July.
The day has been declared “International Mandela Day”. A call has been made on people around the globe to volunteer 67 minutes of their time for community service.
Lead SA, the Department of Basic Education and the Nelson Mandela Foundation supported by the Shout Foundation, Proudly South African and Brand SA have partnered to get the world to sing the song and do 67 minutes of service.
“The countdown to International Mandela Day has started – there is one month to go. The words ‘Mandela, Madiba and Tata’ unite our nation and the world.“We have been called to action by our former President, our interactional icon, our elder statesman, our hero, our leader and the father of the nation – who has given so selflessly of himself through personal sacrifice and a profound amount of heart, compassion, reconciliation and forgiveness,” said Lead SA’s Yusuf Abramjee, speaking at the launch of the Happy Birthday song at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
“Madiba allows us to dream. He makes us believe in possibility. He undoubtedly unites us,” said Abramjee.
Last year, Lead SA and the Department of Basic Education together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation united the voices of South Africa to sing Happy Birthday to Madiba on July 18. Millions of school children and ordinary South Africans made this possible.
“This year we decided to go even bigger,” said Abramjee.
Panyaza Lesufi of the Department of Basic Education, said: “We are not only appealing to millions of people around the world to do 67 minutes of community service on July 18 – but also to show how much we love Tata by singing a very special Happy Birthday song to him.”
On Tuesday, 29 May, people gathered in their thousands at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg to record the song.
Lead SA’s Terry Volkwyn said the song is a call to action. “Madiba’s legacy is one of active citizenship.
“Stand up, do the right thing and make a difference. Despite the many challenges that face South Africa, its citizens are a vibrant nation that show us time and time again that the spirit of Ubuntu is alive and well.
“There is no better tribute we can pay to Madiba’s legacy than developing our nation into an active civil society that selflessly rolls up its sleeves and makes a difference,” said Volkwyn.“Whatever you do – whether it’s painting the walls of a crèche, reading to an elderly person or picking up litter – no act of volunteerism is too big or too small. It all makes a difference!
“Nelson Mandela has given us so much to aspire to and has empowered us with the tools and spirit to be the foot-soldiers of his proud legacy,” Volkwyn added.
Abramjee said: “Whether you at home, in your car, in the street, in a factory or office or at school at 8am on July 18, take a minute and sing the special Happy Birthday song.
“But most of all it is about calling each and every citizen to action. Do your 67 minutes of community service on Mandela Day. In fact, do more if you can – make EVERY day a Mandela Day,” he added.
The partners said over the next month a number of plans have been put in place to rally the nation.
The song released today also features a string of prominent artists and musicians. It is going viral.
Vodacom has donated their infrastructure to provide a platform for citizens to download elements of the song.
You can download the special happy birthday song by SMSing the word MADIBA to 44009. A return SMS will send you the link to download the audio. Standard VAS rates and data costs apply.
The video of the recording is also available on You Tube. Search for “Sing for Madiba.”
One can also go to www.singformadiba.com to download the video and audio.
Spread the song far and wide by all means possible: e-mail it, share it on Facebook, Twitter and all other social media platforms.
The official hash-tag for the initiative is #Sing4Madiba and we encourage everyone to use it from today onwards. *Let us share with the world what each of us is doing.
Abramjee said: “We are exploring the possibility of breaking a social media world record. We want to mobilise the South Africans and indeed the world to sing and pledge their 67 minutes on Mandela Day.”
SA Rugby and the Springboks together with thousands of spectators will sing Happy Birthday to Madiba at the test match in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, during halftime.
Sport Minister, Fikile Mbalula and SARU’s vice-president, Mark Alexandra will join in the singing.
Football fans will also be getting involved and will be able to participate. Fans will sing Happy Birthday to Madiba ahead of matches on the Mandela Day 18 July and also on Saturday 21 July in Durban and Cape Town respectively when local teams take on Manchester United.
Scores of organisations and companies are supporting the initiative. Some of them are The British High Commission and other embassies, the JSE, WITS University, Tsogo Sun an AON SA. They will be mobilising to sing Happy Birthday on the Day also. Various government departments have pledged their support.
Another massive boost for the initiative is Multichoice who has come on board and have pledged to play the recording on all their channels at 8am on Mandela Day.
“This is in the true spirit of doing it for our country and honouring Madiba. Thank you Imtiaz Patel, the CEO of Multichoice and his team. Supersport has been on board from day one,” said Abramjee.
Lead SA and its partners have invited companies, universities, NGOs, government departments and individuals to join-in and “have our voices heard not only in South Africa but across the globe.”
They have also invited foreign representatives in our countries to assist in getting 67+ countries, or 94+ countries, to join the initiative and sing Happy Birthday to Madiba at 8am – their local time and also to get their nationals to do 67 minutes of community service.
“In addition to the support from the local media, we calling on the foreign media to also embrace our call to action. Let’s put aside our differences, our competition and our pride and unite,” appealed Abramjee.
The Department of Basic Education will again have more than 12-million children and teachers’ voices. They have also engaged with other government departments and corporate South Africa to come on board and support the campaign including the 94+ school adoption project.
“Without your voices and indeed your hands we will not be able to achieve our goal in getting the nation to sing Happy Birthday to Tata and do our 67 minutes of community service.
“Let’s make his 94th birthday, the magic of legends and an enduring memory. We want to give him his best birthday present ever-The love of the world,” added Lead SA.
*Words of the song:
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Dear Madiba,
Happy Birthday to you.
We love you Tata,
We love you Tata,
We love you Dear Madiba,
Happy Birthday to you.
-Yusuf Abramjee, Lead SA: Cell 082 4414 203
-Panyaza Lesufi, DOBE: Cell 083 383 4517♦ End