Johannesburg, Thursday 14 July 2016 – Former President Nelson Mandela remains one of the most enduring symbols of the South African nation brand. He embodied all the qualities our country stood for – forgiveness, patience, tolerance, peace and humility – he demonstrated that precious quality of Ubuntu throughout his life.President Mandela’s life of service is now celebrated the world over on International Mandela Day, observed annually on 18 July as decreed by the United Nations.International Mandela Day in 2016 marks the seventh annual Mandela Day where people from every corner of the globe unite to give of themselves, do better and give back to their community for 67 minutes.This International Mandela Day, what will you be doing in the spaces around you to make the world a better place?The international day of observation was inspired by Mandela’s call, made in 2008, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership aimed at addressing the world’s social injustices.“It’s in your hands now” – Nelson MandelaBrand South Africa’s CEO Mr Kingsley Makhubela, reflecting on the significance of International Mandela Day 2016 said, “The best tribute citizens of South Africa can pay to the late icon of our country is to live a life of service, active citizenship and continually striving to make South Africa a better place. We should be guided by his view that South Africa should be better for future generations. Nation building is a continuous process and South Africa needs us all.”The CEO of GEM David Shields says, “Mandela Day is more than just a celebration of Madiba’s life and what he did for South Africa, it’s a global movement to help positively impact the lives of those around you; no matter how small the task.”So what can you do this year to make your 67 minutes fruitful?That’s easy; pick something community based that you’re passionate about, make sure you’re signed up to GEM, put your game face on and start doing your bit for a better South Africa!What is GEM?GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Project is a non-profit org. based in South Africa and co-founded by David Shields and Camilo Ramada. The two conceived a mobile app, called GEM, which uses a mobile payment platform to reward volunteer service in local communities. Operating on an easy-to-use smartphone app and/or USSD technology, users can explore a variety of local opportunities and sign-up to volunteer with the ones they like best.In exchange for their service volunteers earn “GEMs”, which is the app’s currency. Each GEM is the equivalent to one South African rand and can be used to buy goods and services which include electricity tokens, movie tickets, groceries, and even data. The project supports almost more than two dozen social organisations and runs over 30 activations in Johannesburg and Cape Town every month.The best thing about GEM is that it inspires a volunteerism lifestyle. It gives users an opportunity to improve the lives of those around them; using people’s free time proactively with a reward element attached. Everyone, irrespective of which side of the economic spectrum they fall, can give back and get something in return. Truly, a win-win situation.For the second year, GEM Project will be running a massive Mandela Day campaign in partnership with Brand South Africa and the PlayYourPart campaign. The merger serves as a way to make giving back to your community an easy task for anyone. Simply log on and decide where, how and for whom you want to make the world a better place.Brand South Africa is committed to creating a progressive and compelling brand image for South Africa. PlayYourPart is a social network that links individuals willing to volunteer their services or provide financial assistance with community development organisations.Now it’s time to put in the work. Visit www.gemproject.org to download the app on your smartphone or search “GEM Project” on your app store; it’s compatible with Android, iOS and BlackBerry 10 and takes less than a minute to sign-up. Alternatively you can register via USSD by dialing * 120 * 4361 # to get started.You don’t need to be a millionaire or a superhero to make a difference. Your time alone is a beautiful thing to give.Follow the conversation on #SANationBrand or #MandelaDay2016
A day after massive outpouring of criticism against the ruling Trinamool Congress for turning violent to stop the Opposition from filing nomination papers and targeting journalists, party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to go live on Facebook on April 24 evening.She is expected to take direct questions and provide an argument related to violence in the run up to State’s rural polls.She did live chat on Facebook earlier during the 2016 Assembly election. Ms. Banerjee has over 27 lakh ‘likes’ on her Facebook page.While the dates of the rural polls are yet to be announced, the nomination filing process was completed on April 23. Many of her Facebook followers have already posted comments on her page on various issues ranging from State’s development hurdles, the Trinamool’s role in national politics to poll-related violence in Bengal, following her announcement.