• Timothy Vaughn

Happy Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July!

The BlackQuaker Project wishes those around the world a happy Nelson Mandela International Day in both remembrance and celebration of Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013), a worldwide symbol for peace and harmony. Established in a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, Nelson Mandela International Day first began on 18 July 2009 (Mandela’s 91st birthday). The global commemoration recognizes Mandela’s indelible contributions and sacrifices as a Pan-Africanist, a humanist world leader, and a revolutionary in South Africa’s liberation from Apartheid. The day is marked not only by reflections on Mandela’s life and achievements but with community service and civic engagement in the spirit of his unwavering, lifelong commitment to social, economic, and racial justice. We hope those celebrating today are able to experience peace and compassion during these trying times.

From South African Quaker Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge on Nelson Mandela:

“What I particularly liked about Mandela was his style of leadership. He was a humble leader, we all know that he stood tall, but he was able to listen, to listen to different opinions. In fact, during meetings in the ANC National Executive Committee, he would often be the last to speak because he would want to hear the different, divergent views before he made a pronouncement on his own view [...] This kind of humble leadership is sorely needed in South Africa and around the world. Particularly because I think a leader needs to have the trust of the people and people have to have this idea that they are themselves participating in the decisions that are being made about their lives; and this was how Mandela made us feel.” (Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge)

Nozizwe Mandlala-Routledge is a South African Quaker, activist, and politician. She was first elected to Parliament in 1994 and served as South Africa's Deputy Minister of Defense (1999-2004), Deputy Minister of Health (2004-2007), and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly (2008-2009). She was recently Friend in Residence at Haverford College for the 2020 spring semester. Her full interview will soon be available on the Quakers of Color International Archive at UMass Amherst:


  1. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Interview with Harold (Hal) D. Weaver for the Quakers of Color International Archive, UMass Amherst, ZOOM, 25 June 2020.