Happy birthday, our Madiba.

In celebration of your birthday, when you would have turned 102 years old on Saturday, we are sending you an extra special, socially-distant and compliant hug! 

Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the small and rural village of Mvezo, in Umtata. He was given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning “troublemaker”. This is ironic in that, in his latter years, he played such a fundamental and crucial role in bringing peace to our apartheid-stricken land.

In later years he became known affectionately by his clan name, Madiba.

How might we commemorate Mandela day with our children? As parents… as aunties and uncles… as gogos and mkhulus… as educators?

We can look at the important love and life lessons Madiba showed us in his latter years:

> We can teach our children about Nelson Mandela and the important role he played in ensuring ALL South Africans can vote and are treated more fairly, by those in power, by employers, and in everyday life.

> We can talk about how important it is that ALL South Africans are treated fairly, by those in power, by employers, by neighbours, and in everyday life.

> We can discuss with our children how everyone needs to be treated equally. How we need to be loving toward one another.

> We can tell our children that we need to be loving toward one another.

> We can teach our little ones how important it is to be kind.  

> We can say how important it is to pray for our political leaders, so that they make good, all-inclusive and sound decisions for ALL South Africans. This is especially important in the current climate in South Africa (and the world!) with Covid-19.

> We can remind our children that even if we look different from one another, speak in a different language, have different shaped bodies, use a wheelchair to get around, eat different cultural foods, or have different types and styles of hair… we need to celebrate our differences.

> We can tell our children that we can be thankful that we are not all alike, and are growing up in a country that has an incredible melting pot of culture. 

> We can encourage our children to learn from one another. 

> We can also remind our children that God made us all and that we are loved equally. 

Thank you, Tata Madiba… and happy birthday! What an innings you had.

Images: Taken from Jennifer McQuillan’s preschool class theme table at her nursery school in Johannesburg. 

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