The 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) would like to pay tribute to the country's "volunteer-in-chief", Nelson Mandela, as he celebrates his 91st birthday on Saturday, and again salute him for the role he played in bringing Africa's first FIFA World Cup™ to South Africa.
"One cannot begin to quantify the enormous contribution made by Madiba in bringing the world's biggest sporting event to Africa. Throughout the bidding process, at the announcement in Zurich, during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 and even now, Madiba has given selflessly of his time to support Bafana Bafana and also South Africa's ongoing efforts to host a successful and memorable FIFA World Cup next year," said OC Chief Executive Officer Dr Danny Jordaan.
In celebration of Nelson Mandela's life and legacy the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the 46664 campaign have introduced Mandela Day as an annual international "day of humanitarian action" on 18 July, asking individuals to symbolically give at least 67 minutes of their time in service to their communities.
"We want to wish Nelson Mandela a happy 91st birthday. Mandela Day is a very important initiative and something I am certain South Africans and everyone around the world will really embrace. During the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009, more than 4 000 South African residents from all walks of life voluntarily gave weeks of their time through the Organising Committee's Volunteer Programme to deliver the tournament and really exceeded all expectations in terms of sacrifice, enthusiasm and commitment.
"We were told we don't have a culture of volunteerism in South Africa, but that's clearly not the case. In our country it's those who have less who give more and those who have nothing who give the most. We have a spirit of caring and sharing. This country will be great if we continue to make a small and meaningful contribution," said Dr Jordaan.
Next year more than 15 000 volunteers, from South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world will be instrumental in delivering the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Applications for the Volunteer Programme for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ - a once in a lifetime opportunity for thousands of people from around the world to be part of Africa's historic first FIFA World Cup - is to be launched online this Monday, 20 July 2009, on FIFA.com.
"Without dedicated and committed volunteers, who are willing to give of their time to help others, South Africa would not be able to host this tournament, which seeks to entrench the legacy left by the country's first democratic president, Nelson Mandela. We stand in Madiba's history, tradition, commitment and sacrifice and as we start the process on Monday of recruiting the 15 000 volunteers we will require to help us deliver the tournament next year, we want to pay tribute to the contribution of South Africa's volunteer-in-chief," said Jordaan.
*Issued by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) Communications Division
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