The University of Pretoria celebrates Mandela Day

Posted on July 26, 2011

The clean-up was done in cooperation with local schools and NGOs, as well as University staff and students. The main objective of the event was to increase awareness of environmental conservation and waste recycling in the community of Mamelodi.

When addressing the school learners and members of the Mamelodi community, the University of Pretoria’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Cheryl de la Rey, said that the University celebrates the day as an acknowledgement of committing ourselves to the values that former president, Mr Nelson Mandela, has upheld throughout his life.

She said that the event symbolises those values and is also meant to serve as a catalyst for us to realise that each person has the ability to bring about positive change in the lives of others. “This event intends to remind us that we need to commit ourselves to selfless service, so that each and every one of us can put the spirit of Ubuntu into action”, said Prof De la Rey.

As this year’s theme for the Mandela Day celebrations was Take Action, Inspire Change, Make everyday a Mandela Day, Prof De la Rey called on everyone to reflect on the meaningfulness of the clean-up campaign that took place in Mamelodi. “This is not just a matter of 67 minutes of service during one day in a year, but rather the ongoing sense of service to our communities that we are committing to. That is what is required of us as citizens in a developmental democracy like South Africa”, said Prof De la Rey.

Prof De la Rey added that the University of Pretoria made a commitment with the Mamelodi community to create an environmental awareness, particularly around the importance of recycling. “Excessive waste production and waste disposal has become a serious problem in our communities and we need to learn the skills of proper waste management. The success of recycling programmes depend on the active and sustained participation of committed community members”, said Prof De la Rey.

The University’s clean-up campaign promoted the importance of accepting the green economy, with environmental awareness being a key focus. The drive encouraged the community to work together in advancing the recycling of waste in a manner that does not only keep their surroundings clean, but also protects the environment we live in.

The University of Pretoria is committed to sustainability and strives to balance the economic, social and biophysical needs of the environment in which we exist.




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