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A pledge for good citizenship

- By Refilwe Mabula

Good citizenship, humanity, social transformation and equality were buzzing words at Wits for the 2015 Mandela Day’s Celebrations.

The Wits community gathered outside the Great Hall this week to take the It’s in my hands, now! pledge for good citizenship as part of the annual International Mandela Day celebrations.

It’s in my hands, now! pledge resonates with the Mandela Day ethos of honouring the legacy of Nelson Mandela of good citizenship. Through this pledge Witsies were reminded of the power that lies within individuals to transform the world. 

The pledge is an initiative of the Drama for Life’s (DFL) #BuildaPresident campaign which is aimed at enhancing youth leadership through DFL interventions, workshops.

Speaking on the relevance of the pledge to the University, Drama for Life’s #BuildaPresident Project Manger staff member, Anzio Jacobs said “This ties in well with the university’s pledge of transformation, through community service initiatives, the language policy and the Vice Chancellor’s move towards accessibility.”

As part of the # BuildaPresidentcampaign, Wits staff and students took photographs with their posters with ideas of their ideal president.

Warren Nebe, Director of DFL, said that the Build a President photographic documentation is inspired by Speak Truth To Power and Humans of New York, which are international campaigns, and  serves to uphold the human dignity of South Africans.

“The photographs an extraordinary ethnography about diverse people and communities in South Africa. They demonstrate that we share many common values, ascribe to the legacy of Mandela, and question leadership without integrity,” Nebe.

Everyday Mandela Day for Witsies

Witsies who took the pledge for good citizenship said that they try to make every day Mandela Day through various initiatives.

Third year civil engineering student, Karabo Utloa, said that the pledge will allow her to practise good citizenship and eventually inspire other people to do so.

“I try to make every day Mandela Day, by being a better person myself and trying to be as sacrificial as he was and be the person who will be able to make the change I want to see in the world.

Mandela tried to be the example we would like to see in the world. I am an advocate for youth development and women empowerment. I have been the change I would like to see, I have engaged with the youth, male and female and in me doing that I have become a Mandela in my own way,” Dimba.

This Mandela Day Utloa was involved in a book collection drive for three schools in and around Gauteng.  

Other Witsies shared how they live Mandela’s legacy every day.

Nokwanda Dimba, a member of the Wits Citizenship Community Outreach, is part of group of Wits students that tutors Soweto high school learners.

Bronwyn Groves donates blood regularly. “It might not be a huge thing but it is saving a life. Even the smallest thing can change someone’s outlook,” she quipped.

Second year Geosciences’ student Mauro Lourenco, is part of Food and Trees Africa, which is dedicated to visiting informal settlements and teaching childen how to grow their own food.