Tomorrow is Mandela Day, a day that celebrates former South African president Nelson Mandela’s birthday. Mandela , who has become an icon for democracy and human rights around the world, will turn 95 tomorrow.
Even though Mandela is critically ill and in a fragile state, celebrations and charity events around the world will be taking place to mark this occasion. Mandela spend 27 years imprisoned on Robben Island under the apartheid regime. While the island is a poignant reminder of apartheid and its atrocities, it is also a heritage site and booming tourist destination. President Obama recently visited Robben Island during his visit to South Africa. Check out a video of his visit to Mandela’s prison cell here:
The history of the island can also be traced as far back as the early 15th century. For more information on a timeline of the island check out this link: http://www.robben-island.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9&Itemid=46]
Robben Island is a sensitive eco-system, and South African law states that the Island is a protected nature conservation area and, as a World Heritage Site, has to balance additional conservation requirements with the Robben Island Museum’s mission of ensuring public access to the Island’s heritage. Thus measures have been placed to ensure the conservation of its birdlife, natural vegetation, marine and wildlife as well as its geology.
Robben Island has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. For more information on this check out http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/916
In terms of the National Monuments Act of South Africa, the area was declared as a National Monument in 1996.Protection in terms of mining or prospecting is completely prohibited from taking place within the property or its buffer zone, and any unsuitable development with a potential impact on the property is not permitted by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
To celebrate Mandela Day with us and the rest of the world, why not participate in the Mandela Day Campaign and give 67 minutes of your time to a good cause, whether it be your local community or to your chosen charity. You could even dedicate your 67 minutes to cleaning up your neighborhood, planting trees, or any activity that could empower people and help improve the built and natural environment that we live in.