A recent online survey has shown that South Africans are embracing the concept of contributing 67 minutes of their time to the less fortunate on Mandela Day. But whilst they love the concept, actual involvement isn't likely to be as strong.
nudge, a company specialising in online research, conducted a dipstick survey amongst 271 South Africans(1) from across the country to explore awareness and participation intentions of Mandela Day.
It would be hard to miss all the media coverage about the upcoming Mandela Day, and indeed, awareness of the occasion and its significance is very high (91% awareness). Themes of giving, sharing one's ability and time, celebrating Madiba and building a stronger, more unified South Africa came through strongly when those surveyed were asked what Mandela Day was all about. While the word 'charity' did come up, there was a stronger emphasis on love, caring, change and giving back.
Given these positive connotations and emotional connections with Mandela Day, it was not surprising to see that the vast majority (78%) agree that it is an excellent idea and that we should all join in. This sentiment was expressed by both men and women, but did not transcend age quite so well. Looking at age, the youth appear to be the most optimistic about the role they can play (91% see it as an excellent idea), while those over 45 appear more jaded (only 66% see it an excellent idea).
So what about actually getting involved?
It is easy to approve of a concept, but when it comes to personally getting involved, enthusiasm typically wanes. But the strong emotional pull that Nelson Mandela had in South Africa appears to still be in effect, with nearly half of those surveyed (45%) confidently stating that they will be participating in Mandela Day, with a further 27% probably going to participate. Only a very small number (6%) declare that they definitely will not be getting involved.
For some of the fence-sitters, their hesitancy may be linked to being unsure of how to get involved. Around a third intend participating as individuals, but some groups - youth and women typically - appear to be less likely to opt in as an individual, preferring the security perhaps of a group. But rather than the church, or community groups, it seems that the workplace is going to be a vital organiser of Mandela Day participants, while another major source will be family or friend groups.
And the lucky Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) are...
A wide variety of NPOs and others in need are likely stand to gain on Mandela Day. The elderly are a cause close to the hearts of Indian South Africans, while Whites are most likely to get involved in something related to animals or the homeless. The plight of orphans will attract Black participants wanting to lend a hand, and Coloureds will be looking at either community groups or the homeless when searching for a worthy cause. The positive aspect of this is that it ensures an overall balance in needy causes getting attention. For those unsure of where they could lend a hand, a quick look at http://www.mandeladay.com/ is sure to inspire.
While it is only 19 months since Madiba was taken from us, half of the surveyed group felt that his legacy was not quite as strong anymore, or was even fading away fast. But it seems all is not lost as 75% were confident that if ordinary South Africans got involved and participated in Mandela Day and similar events, this would help to keep his legacy alive.
Only 16% of those surveyed felt that Mandela would be proud of our nation based on the past year. Now is the moment for the ordinary people to do the extraordinary, to stand up and reignite the pride in our nation. Just imagine what an impact would be made if even just half of us gave 67 minutes and our time and energy towards building the nation that Mandela dreamed of!
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