Citizens from the regions visit organs of sovereignty on Nelson Mandela Day - July 18
The group, representing citizens from the regions of Quinara, Bafatá, Cacheu and the Autonomous Sector of Bissau visited the government Palace, where they delivered messages to the Prime Minister during a ministerial session, the shook hands with the President at the Presidential Palace, discussed with their representatives at the National Assembly, and were given a history tour at the Military Museum in the Amura fortress.
After a photo stop at the Pindjiguiti Martyrs Square, the participants returned to UNIOGBIS headquarters for a session with the Ubuntu Academy on Servant Leadership and the history of Nelson Mandela, his life and legacy.
At the Government Palace, Valentina, from the Ubuntu Academy, asked Prime Minister Aristides Gomes about the functions of the Council or Ministers, while Agostinho, religious leader from São Domingos, asked the new government to follow in Mandela’s steps. "First, thank you for your visit and for the message you bring, a message of peace and forgiveness. As for the functioning of the Council of Ministers, which is a decision-making body, this is where major decisions are taken and then implemented in the different structures of the government, from the highest level to the villages," responded the Head of the Government.
“The visit was very interesting”, said Ermelinda, from the Women’s Horticulturists Association, “I am alone here, but I represent all the women farmers in Guinea Bissau, and we are always in the field, working. That’s why I never thought I would have the opportunity to visit these places. I wish we could do that more often, to learn and improve, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela. Maybe his essence will grow in the seeds and bring prosperity to our country”.
The celebrations were jointly organized by the Ubuntu Academy of Guinea- Bissau and the United Nations Integrated Office for Peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).
The Ubuntu Guiné-Bissau Academy led the activities in Pindjiguiti Martyrs' Square, launching balloons with messages of peace, in conjunction with the Guinea-Bissau National Workers' Union (UNTG), Guiné-Bissau Scouts and the South African telecommunication company MTN.
After the celebrations in Square, they continued to Simão Mendes National Hospital where they donated toys to the pediatrics and maternity services, while citizens were invited to donate blood to the hospital's blood bank.
“As we work collectively for peace, stability, sustainable development and human rights for all, we would be well served to recall the example set by Nelson Mandela”, said UN Secretary-General Guterres in his message for the Day.
Nelson Mandela International Day was declared a commemorative date by the UN General Assembly in November 2009 in recognition of Nelson Mandela's contribution to the culture of peace and freedom around the world. We remember the words of Mandela himself that inspire this day: "What counts in life is not the simple fact that we lived. It's the difference we've made in the lives of others that will determine the meaning of the life we lead”.
The spirit of Nelson Mandela was very much present in Guinea-Bissau throughout the day.