100 Years in Mandela’s Light

The world celebrates Nelson Mandela 100 birth anniversary today, July 18, 2018. Amidst a series of Pan-African movements, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace & dignity is proud to have been one of the hundred ‘Sparks of Hope selected by the global campaign #WalkTogether – to celebrate initiatives that work to continue the long walk to Freedom and are guided by Mandela’s legacy.

The Elders, a group of independent leaders founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to work together for peace, justice, and human rights, originated the #WalkTogether campaign. They will present the work of all of 100 ‘Sparks of Hope’ at the Nelson Mandela 100 Activities today in South Africa,  and to the world leaders gathering at the UN in New York in September 2018. The 100 Sparks of Hope are communities working in solidarity to realise the freedoms that Mandela dedicated his life to achieving and embody the values of compassion, empathy, and unity that The Elders wish to promote globally in the face of increasing divisiveness, fear, and xenophobia.

“We invite you, Africans Rising, to be part of this year’s #WalkTogether Sparks of Hope platform. For we have seen your demonstrated commitment to amplifying broad demands in connecting struggles, building solidarities and cooperation within and amongst campaigns for social inclusion, economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and gender justice for all.” – The Elders.

Our decentralised movement is working across the continent to foster an Africa-wide solidarity and unity of purpose of the people of Africa to build the future we want – a right to peace, social inclusion, and shared prosperity. Over the years, through pioneering a fresh approach to tackling Africa’s pressing challenges and creating shared solidarity for all, the movement has reached over 15 million people through both its online and offline platforms. Major collaborators on this journey are movements, people, civil societial organisations, trade unions, governments, artists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and others – based on our shared resonation with the Kilimanjaro Declaration.

Thus, we see a great deal of hope in being part of such a walk for freedom. Today is an opportunity to reach out to as many people as possible in an attempt to actualise Mandela’s dream. Our media platforms – created on the path of campaigning for the Africa we want – will swell throughout the day with Mandela’s legacies. Our Collaboration & Engagement Coordinator,  represented Africans Rising in the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture delivered this year by former U.S President Barak Obama and the #WalkTogether for #Mandela100

Africans Rising also crave to leverage the same vision across the continent – peace, justice, dignity, and solidarity amongst all Africans. With the spirit of Pan-Africanism and joint action from the most committed minds across the continent, our movement remains unflaggingly willing to actualize this vision.

Speaking at the launch of the #WalkTogether campaign on the 18th July 2017 in South Africa, Graça Machel, co-founder of The Elders with her husband, Nelson Mandela said, “The long walk to freedom is the flag Madiba has left for us to carry forward. Grassroots organisations are delivering these freedoms to their communities every day, around the world, often outside of the view of the media. They deserve to be known for their courageous moral leadership. They are the forces we should never leave behind in actualising the vision of Mandela. We will, at this point, celebrate one hundred of these inspirational organisations like ours, which we will call the ‘Sparks of Hope ’. They, too, are small movements that keep sparking actions for the better hope for the Africa we want.”

Finally, the Sparks of Hope platform was launched online in September 2017 and has garnered the engagement of over 65 million people on social media channels. The Elders have undertaken public activities in cities around the world in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Africa to showcase the ideas the 100 Sparks of Hope offer toward addressing key global challenges. We hope to play the needed role in adding up to the series of activities the others have been doing to making it all possible.

July 18, 2018 (Dakar, Senegal)

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Issued by Africans Rising for Peace, Justice & Dignity

About The Elders

The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice, and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007. The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (Chair), Ban Ki-Moon, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair), Hina Jilani, Ricardo Lagos, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson, and Ernesto Zedillo. Ela Bhatt, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, and Desmond Tutu are Elders Emeritus.

About the #WalkTogether Campaign
#WalkTogether is a year-long campaign in the lead-up to Nelson Mandela’s 100th anniversary to inspire hope in the world by celebrating courageous moral leadership for the freedoms of Peace, Health, Justice, and Equality. The campaign is run by The Elders’ secretariat in partnership with global civil society networks.


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