July 18 is Mandela Day when we come together to remember the great man and call on everyone to help make the world a better place. This year it takes on a special significance because it marks what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.
Nelson Mandela has been a great source of inspiration to countless people around the world, and here at Virgin Atlantic, we are no exception. He was a good friend of Richard’s and the two even share their birthday. To mark the 100th anniversary of his birth and to honour his legacy of freedom and equality we’ve named our latest Boeing 787-9 ‘Lady Freedom’.
We’ve also redirected all our ‘Change for Children’ onboard charity donations on our Heathrow to Johannesburg flights during July to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
If you’re lucky enough to be in Johannesburg for the centenary celebrations, there’ll be lots to see and do. You can join The Elders and Richard on the 2018 Walk Together – a short and symbolic walk that demonstrates a shared commitment to continuing Mandela’s long walk to freedom. This will be followed by speakers from around the world. Gather at Constitution Hill on Wednesday 18 July for a 1 pm start. Full information is on the Walk Together website, as are details of other walks happening around the world.
If that isn’t enough, Obama is in town! The 2018 Nelson Mandela Lecture will be delivered by Barack Obama on 17 July. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a ticket; you can live-stream the lecture direct from the Nelson Mandela Foundation website.
Exploring Mandela’s deep connections with Jo’burg is a great way to immerse yourself in one of the greatest stories of our time. A good place to start is on one of the organised Mandela tours that take you to key places from the Mandela story in both Johannesburg and Soweto. To plan your own itinerary the South African Tourist Board’s ‘100 ways to find the Nelson Mandela in you’ site includes an excellent interactive map which can also be downloaded as an app.
You can read more about Richard and the Virgin Group’s close connection to Mandela on the Virgin.com site