134 big and small ways to start changing South Africa this Mandela Day

“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

According to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Mandela Day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the footsteps of Madiba – taking action to help change the world for the better and in so doing, to build a global movement for good.

There are many ways in which you can serve on Mandela Day – all contributions are meaningful, but have you ever wondered if there is something that you can do that can contribute to long term change in the country? Evidence from around the world shows that investing in the early development of children can lead to: greater equality, better education and health outcomes, a stronger economy, and a better society with less crime, public violence and greater social cohesion.  Critical brain development is taking place during pregnancy and the first five years of life, development that is key to ensuring a child can one day live out his/her life potential.  Each year about one million new babies are born in South Africa and with no formal early childhood development system currently in place, in the short term government alone will not be able to significantly reduce the tragic loss of human potential that will hamper our progress and quality of life for decades to come.  Thus, the greatest possibility to create real change rests with us as ordinary South Africans.

Nal’ibali and Cape Town Embrace have each compiled a list of 67 big and small ways in which you can use Mandela day to start contributing to real change in South Africa by supporting parents during the critical First 1000 Days of their child’s development, and by helping children to access books and to love reading: (click to access)  

web1     web2

You can watch the video below to understand better how the early development of children is key to bringing real change to our South Africa:


Visit https://dgmt.co.za/change-south-africa/ to access an online toolkit providing guidelines, tools and resources to:

  1. Help children to love reading and stimulate their language development;
  2. Support a mother during the crucial First 1000 Days of her child’s development; and
  3. Help more people to get involved in 1 & 2 above.



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