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Unisa online - Happy birthday Tata Madiba

Braving the cold, the warm hearts and voices of the Unisa community came together to sing a happy 94th birthday to Madiba (former President Nelson Mandela) this morning and celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day – an annual celebration adopted by the United Nations, inspiring individuals to take action  and help change the world for the better.

With Madiba’s commitment towards a democratic South Africa, this day is more than just a celebration with cake and singing – it’s a day of doing and making a difference in the lives and communities that desperately need a helping hand. Leveraged by the 67 years he gave to the struggle for freedom, today is also a call for individuals to give just 67 minutes towards inspiring change and taking action in communities.

The Unisa community is no exception and has, year after year, opened their hearts and pockets, joining this global initiative with acts of service in support of the less fortunate.

Also supporting 67 minutes of service excellence, Prof Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor said “Each year we see the people from across this nation enthusiastically embracing the 67 minutes of service initiative, often going way beyond the original aims and intention of the project. And in that service colleagues, a kind of magic happens. It is the magic that radiates from Nelson Mandela and others like him, who have dedicated their lives to the service of others and who do so with joy and a deep sense of satisfaction, expecting nothing in return. They touch, and bring meaning to people’s lives as a living. How many of us can lay claim to such a wonderful vocation?”

Whilst it may be almost impossible to walk the same path as Madiba, Unisa certainly tries hard enough. Initiatives and collection drives have been arranged in support of identified organisations, with food parcels, books, toys, clothes and time given selflessly.

Prof Makhanya is extremely proud of the service to humanity displayed by Unisa staff, saying, “I have no doubt that if we get into the habit of serving, of emulating the example of this great statesman, we could change this institution and our country through excellence in education – and I honestly can think of no greater tribute, no more sincere a vote of thanks and appreciation, no greater birthday gift to a man who has spent his life giving to others.”

A birthday celebration would be incomplete without singing, so the talented Despatch Male Voices led Unisa into song, honouring Madiba with the words, “Happy birthday dear Tata. Happy birthday to you. We love you Tata.”

Make every day a Mandela day!

Dr J Diescho, Director: International Relations and Partnerships welcomed staff to the Nelson Mandela Day celebrations

Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Makhanya encouraged staff to give to others as Mandela did

The Despatch Male Voices led Unisa into song by singing happy birthday to Mandela

Staff members sang, ululated and danced in honour of Madiba

A birthday celebration would be incomplete without cake!

Prof Molamu and Prof Makhanya admiring the Mandela cupcakes

Prof Molamu, Prof Setati and Prof Makhanya enjoying the birthday celebrations

Thank you to all the smiling staff members who honoured Madiba today

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