Get Involved This Mandela Day – 18 July 2017
July is the month in which former President Nelson Mandela’s legacy is celebrated. On each Mandela Day (July 18, Madiba’s birthday) South Africans are urged to give back to those less fortunate to honour his legacy. They are encouraged to spend at least 67 minutes doing something positive for their communities. This format honours the 67 years that Nelson Mandela spent fighting for democracy, equality and social justice.
The theme of the 2017 Mandela Month is #ActionAgainstPoverty.
Franchises are at the coal face of community service initiatives
Local communities are of huge importance to Individual franchise businesses, as the source of most of their business. For this reason, franchises have long been enthusiastic participants in the Mandela Day initiative as a thank you to their communities which support them throughout the year. Franchises, as is the case with many small businesses, rarely brag about their charitable activities, though they possibly should through their websites and local community newspapers. However, it is well known among schools, youth sports clubs and feeding schemes that small business such as franchises are the most generous contributors, to their various initiatives. This is usually because franchisees are well connected to the community, and also able to make spur-of-the-moment decisions.
One reason for the willingness of franchises to contribute, is that hunger is the greatest challenge facing South Africa, as well as being the focus of Mandela Month. Approximately 56% of franchise stores are involved in the food or retail convenience industries (excluding petrol), and are therefore well-positioned to assist.
Some of the larger franchise systems are of course involved in higher-profile corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives that have over the years raised hundreds of millions: companies such as:
- KFC through its Add Hope national feeding initiative;
- Maxi’s franchise team through its NekNomination;
- Spur, through the Spur Foundation, helped set up micro franchises run by single mothers; and
- water purification H2O International SA which supports The Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF) an organisation dedicated to bringing clean, safe drinking water to disadvantaged areas.
For those franchises which have not formalised any contribution to the iconic 67 minutes of help to make a difference on 18 July, various meal packaging initiatives such as Stop Hunger Now SA can still be supported.
This international day of philanthropy has grown into a worldwide event: it is inspired by a speech given by Mandela on 27 June 2008 (his 90th birthday celebration) in London’s Hyde Park. In this address, Madiba called on leaders of all nations to help change the world for the better.
“It’s in your hands now,” he urged.
Celebrated each year on Mandela’s birthday, International Nelson Mandela Day aims to generate an avalanche of good deeds by encouraging individuals, communities, governments and non-profit organisations to take small steps towards the larger goal of positive transformation.
This is the third Mandela Day since the iconic statesman died on 5 December, 2013, and since he’s no longer around to anchor the occasion, it’s vitally important for the franchising industry to continue to uphold the values for which he struggled and to share his message of humanity and peace with future generations.