With Mandela Day just celebrated on July 18th, social activism and corporate social responsibility are the trending agendas for industry leaders within the global sphere, with many worthy causes and foundations in need.

Nelson Mandela was a pioneering force for social change in South Africa. He was an ardent advocate for women’s rights; campaigning to eradicate oppression and violence against women, as well as to to ensure equal pay. He sought to include women at the forefront of innovation and change, increasing the number of women in parliament from 2.7% to 44% during his presidency. In 2003, he launched the 46664 initiative, which involved a range of benefit concerts to raise money for the advocacy of AIDS awareness and research. 2007 saw the incorporation of the Nelson Mandela Institute for Rural Development and Education; with the mission of training up top teachers to teach in rural schools, as well as to modernise their facilities. He also created the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to combat hunger, homelessness and the exploitation of the vulnerable. Mandela, too; had an active interest in furthering scientific and technological discovery, to ensure a constant strive to better one’s environment.

Mandela Day is founded on the premise that we are all called to serve within our communities, and the world at large. Every individual is responsible for and able to make a difference through positive change. This is an ideal which brings us all together, as the public, private citizens, industry and government. It calls for 67 minutes of the day to inspire change. This day is an embodiment of the principle of ubuntu, “I am, because you are”. It highlights the togetherness of humanity and how our actions have consequences that impact others.

Aspire operates within the ethos of Mandela Day, with a solid focus on corporate social responsibility, while striving to incorporate these ideals into everyday business practices. We believe in innovation, entrepreneurship, the continuous expansion of technology and an attitude of lifelong learning for our employees, with the Aspire Academy founded to ensure that all students are given equal opportunities to learn the skills needed to further themselves within the ICT industry. We also promote gender equality within the ICT sector, particularly encouraging women in leadership, as well as supporting campaigns against GBV.

We take pride in the knowledge that Aspire embodies the ethos of everyday corporate social responsibility.

We would like to encourage all South African businesses to take part, in not only honouring the legacy of Nelson Mandela, but also, in uplifting their communities. Corporate social responsibility should be a cornerstone of all business operations, with the goal to always strive for positive social change. This thinking should be carried further than just Mandela Day, and should instead be incorporated into the daily running and culture of the business. We would strongly urge all businesses to place an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, both within their vison for the company and their goals and objectives for the future.

As Nelson Mandela once said: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”