Commemoration of the first anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s passing, 5 Dec

5 December 2014 marks the first anniversary of President Nelson Mandela’s passing.  On this day, government, working hand-in-hand with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will hold an official ceremony to remember Madiba.

All South Africans, and the world, are urged to keep his memory alive by living his values and continuing with efforts aimed at ensuring that all humanity lives in a society where peace, tolerance, the rule of law, justice and human rights form the cornerstone of our daily lives. On 5 December you can also share your memories on Twitter using the hashtag #RememberMandela or share your favourite Nelson Mandela moment on Facebook at

Government departments, public service institutions, private sector organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals are requested to commit to programmes in their respective fields of endeavour aimed at advancing Mandela’s values and keeping his memory alive.  These activities will be over and above the annual commemoration of International Mandela Day on July 18.

In order to honour Madiba, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will run a “Buy-A-Book” campaign aimed at encouraging organisations and individuals to buy and donate books to their local library, especially in formerly disadvantaged areas.  Mr Sello Hatang will expand on this.

Building on the “Buy-A-Book” campaign, the Department of Social Development requests South Africans to buy and donate books to their local early childhood development centres, in line with Mandela’s vision for the nurturing and development of children.

The December 5 commemoration will unfold as follows:

  • A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Mandela statue in the Union Buildings lawns at 08h00. Veterans of the struggle for freedom and those who fought side-by-side with Madiba against apartheid will be invited to lead the wreath laying. This ceremony will be open to the all South Africans and members of the public are invited also to visit the site throughout the day to lay wreaths.
  • An official commemorative ceremony will take place at Freedom Park, Pretoria, attended by invited guests. The Deputy President of the Republic, the Honourable Cyril Ramaphosa, will give a key note address. This ceremony will be open to the members of the media.

During the morning of 5 December, at 3 minutes and 7 seconds to 10h00, we request churches, schools, factories, mosques, etcetera, to ring their bells and sirens or use their loud hailers to call the country to attention for the observation of a moment of silence, starting at 10h00 until 10h03.

The time lapse from the ringing of the bells to the end of the moment of silence is 6 minutes, 7 seconds. This is symbolic of the 67 years Madiba spent in the service of humanity. The moment of silence will be broken by the singing of the National Anthem at 10h03 across the country and anywhere that South Africans will be gathered. Provincial governments will also hold commemorative ceremonies during the 5th or thereafter, taking their lead from the national commemorative event.

Through a “Where were you?” social media campaign South Africans will be invited to share where they were and how they felt during key milestones in Madiba’s life, including, for example, his arrest in 1964, his release from prison in 1990 and his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of the country.

We also urge South Africans to wear their favourite Mandela t-shirt, shirt or other memorabilia on 5 December in his remembrance.

All of these activities will be done in order to:

  • promote social cohesion in the country through joint remembrance of Madiba;
  • encourage South Africans, and the world, to continue living Madiba’s values;
  • engender a culture of giving as exemplified by Madiba throughout his life; and
  • nurture nation building by promoting Madiba’s vision – and the vision envisaged in the National Development Plan – of a united nation working together to build a better South Africa.

The first democratically elected president of South Africa, Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, passed away on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95.  The South African government declared Sunday, 8 December 2013 to be observed as a national day of prayer and reflection: “We call upon all our people to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and in their homes for prayer services and meditation, reflecting on the life of Madiba and his contribution to our country and the world” (President Jacob Zuma, 6 December 2013). Government, together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation will during December hold a series of commemorative events to honour the late statesman.

Media advisories and statements

Media accreditation for commemoration of first anniversary of Nelson Mandela's passing.

For more information visit Nelson Mandela Foundation website.

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