In honour of President Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, South Africa and the rest of the globe will observe Mandela Day on July 18, 2023. As part of this celebration, we are encouraged to consider the ideals, beliefs, and philosophy that Nelson Mandela upheld and to accept the duty of improving our communities. Some of the values and goals of community psychology include promoting health and wellbeing of people in a caring and compassionate manner, respecting human diversity and dignity, social justice and empowering communities to be active agents of change.

“#ItIsInYourHands” is the topic for this year, and it is a call to action for us to address and reduce climate change, inequality, and food insecurity. These are problems that affect not just the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, but also our planet. We have the key to finding answers to these issues. How do we as psychologist contribute to the health and wellbeing of our fellow human beings as well as our beloved planet in a caring and compassionate way? How do we maintain our optimism in the face of a world that is undergoing rapid change?

Mandela understood that in order for us to end poverty, we need not see it as a work of charity but rather as an act of justice. This was one of his pearls of wisdom. He thought that because poverty is a result of human activity, human activity is required to combat and eradicate it. He further believed that the significance of the life we lead is determined by the difference we have made in the lives of others. Like poverty, climate change is also a problem that is caused and exacerbated by the actions of us the custodians of this beautiful planet. Challenging times requires us to remain hopeful and to imagine differently. Perhaps on the occasion of Mandela Day, we should pause, think, and learn from indigenous knowledge systems and indigenous communities’ understanding of how to coexist peacefully and respectfully with one another and the environment. Mother Nature is speaking to all of us and it is time that we listen to the feedback she is giving us so that we can bring about the necessary changes that are required to restore harmony.

Are you listening to the painful cry of our people and our beloved Mother Nature? The Community and Social Psychology division invites you to take action to reduce climate change, reduce inequality and poverty, and support and strengthen your communities. Let’s join together in solidarity and reduce climate change, inequity and poverty. It’s in our hands after all!

By Ms Dene du Rand 
On behalf of CaSP 
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