The Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela's birthday on the 18 July 2009 via the unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world's social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”. The Nelson Mandela Day is more than just a celebration of Madiba's legacy as Mandela proclaimed this in his own words, thus: “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest”. This is a global movement to honour his life's work and act to change the world for the better by devoting 67 minutes of one's time to help others. It is a call to action for individuals everywhere ‐ to take responsibility to make the world a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mandela did for more than 67 years. The Nelson Mandela Day Commemorative (NDDC) Inc. Committee pays its allegiance to the Nelson Mandela Day Foundation as the trustee of his legacy.
- To promote Nelson Mandela's values of social justice and commitment to community service in solidarity with humanity as part of the global movement for good.
- To motivate socially transformative action that helps to change people's lives for the better for the realisation and restoration of dignity.
- To ensure cumulative action with lasting effects that strives to leave behind not just physical changes, but also a sense of empowerment.
- To build pride in both communities and in individuals so they can increasingly take charge of their destinies and to improve their circumstances.
- To adopt actions that fall within the ethical framework of “service to one's fellow humans”