- Minister Hanna visited the boys at the Metcalfe Street Juvenile Correctional Centre
- The day’s activities also included an audio visual presentation on the life and work of Mandela
Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, is encouraging boys at the Metcalfe Street Juvenile Correctional Centre to aspire to be agents of change, when they return to their communities.
She made the call at an event held at the centre’s downtown Kingston location on July 18, to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day under the theme: ‘Take Action, Inspire Change, and Make Everyday Mandela Day’.
“Like Mandela, you are here for a time, regardless of what the circumstances are; and so when you get out…, you have the opportunity to change a community, you have the opportunity to change a society,” she told them.
The Minister encouraged the wards to “use the same passion for whatever it is that you got involved in… to take you in another direction which is for opportunity and progress”.
She advised them, on leaving the facility, “to come to us (the Ministry) and (we will) set you on the right path, so that you can push yourselves wherever it is your dreams are going to take you”.
The Minister’s talk with the boys formed part of an initiative undertaken in collaboration with the South African High Commission in Jamaica, to engage children, who are in the care of the state, in practical action that educates and motivates them to express their talents and focus on the work, life and legacy of the icon of freedom and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Nelson Mandela.
The High Commissioner, Her Excellency Mathu Joyini, who was on hand, shared aspects of her culture with the boys, and the role Jamaica played in liberating South Africa.
She stated that Jamaica was the first Caribbean that Mandela visited on his release from prison, to thank the country “for being with us through that period of our history”.
“Big up Jamaica, your leaders, your Prime Minister at the time, Michael Manley. They were on the world stage fighting for the freedom and liberation of their brothers and sisters in the African continent,” she stated.
The day’s activities also included an audio visual presentation on the life and work of Mandela; an artistic presentation by the wards titled: ‘Mandela Moments’; and an interactive discussion led by representatives of the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD).
This is the second consecutive year that the Ministry has collaborated with the South African High Commission to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day. On this day, Jamaicans were encouraged to join in the global call for humanitarian action by spending 67 minutes of their time serving others, specifically children.
The former South African President gave 67 years of his life to fighting for the rights of humanity, and the day is dedicated to his life and work and that of his charitable organisations, and thereby ensuring that his legacy continues.
Seen as a revolutionary, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is known worldwide for his fight against a system of racial oppression in which the majority of South Africans were disenfranchised. This was referred to as apartheid, which existed in South Africa from as early as 1910.
Mr. Mandela was jailed in 1964 for leading the liberation movement against apartheid and his stance on human rights. He served 26 years in prison.
He was the first black South African to become President and the first elected in a fully representative, multi-racial election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.