(Washington, DC) – As part of its Youth Engagement program, and inspired by former South African President Nelson Mandela’s life and years of public service, the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA) hosted its Mandela Day of Service 2016 on Saturday, July 16, 2016 from 10 am-12 pm. Now in its second year, this city-wide program has grown to include several District government agencies and external partners and a greater number of program participants dedicated to community building through voluntarism.
Agency directors and partner organization leaders were on hand to formally welcome participants before they were transported to their assigned 1.5 mile riverside stretch for clean-up. Over 130 participants, including District government agency staff, African community members, and interested volunteers, conducted clean-up of nearly two miles of Anacostia River banks, thereby contributing their efforts towards maintaining the beauty and cleanliness of this shared public treasure. District-based drummers Ni Dembaya also performed for 67 minutes in honor of Nelson Mandela’s years of public service. Following the clean-up, the Alice Ferguson Foundation reported that 1,800 pounds of debris had been removed by volunteers on this day of community service.
Chris Shorter, Director of the Department of Public Works, Delano Hunter, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Volunteerism and MOAA’s Director Mamadou Samba delivered welcome remarks that encouraged volunteers to remain inspired by the legacy and spirit of Nelson Mandela and continue to be active in their communities. Commission Lafayette Barnes and Kedist Gerenaw presented the Mandela Day proclamation issued by Mayor Muriel Bowser for the occasion.
This year’s Mandela Day of Service was conducted in partnership with Serve DC, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Parks and Recreation, DC Fire and EMS Department, Metropolitan Police Department, and the Commission on African Affairs. External partners included Path to Greatness, The Alice Ferguson Foundation, Action Moves People United, Forest Nation and President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellows for Young African Leaders, Howard University and Wagner College. The corporate sponsor for this event was South African Airways which provided a free raffle prize of a roundtrip ticket to South Africa. The lucky winner was District resident, Faith Umoh.