DVIDS – News – New York Army National Guard Soldiers recognize South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Day alongside South Africa students


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New York Army National Guard Soldiers, U.S. Army Reserves, U.S. Army Africa Command Soldiers, and service members from the South Africa National Defense Force recognized South Africa’s Nelson Mandela International Day 2022, on July 18, by visiting a local high school to help with clean up activities.

“This is just the beginning of a long-term relationship. We are honored to have you all here today and to support our students,” said Khanyiselisizwe High School principal T.T. Magwaza, where the event was held.

The U.S. Soldiers are in South Africa as part of Shared Accord, a biannual training event to enhance operational skills and partnership between the United States and South Africa.

“Stay in school, study hard; we are honored to have a state partnership with you. We are especially fortunate to be here today with you for Nelson Mandela Day. You gave us such a warm and beautiful welcoming,” emphasized Col. Christopher Cronin, the New York Army National Guard, Deputy Director Exercise Shared Accord 2022.

Cronin quoted Mandela, who famously said, “education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

Service members from both countries donned smiles as they worked with the high school students, taught them about the importance of good hygiene , cleaned up the school grounds and stood for photos, and spoke with the young students.

“We can be one of the world’s most prosperous countries, and the working youth is critical to our future. In our military, we have chaplains, doctors, and educators, and we want you to continue learning and improving your life skills. There are countless opportunities for our great military for each of you,” said Brig. Gen. P.F. Dlamini, from the South Africa National Defense Force. Dlamin is the exercise director exercise of Shared Accord 2022.

Mandela Day is observed each year on July 18 , his birthday.

Citizens are encouraged to volunteer for 67 minutes of their time in commemoration of Mandela’s 67 years of service and promotion of social justice.

Many of Mandela’s legacy work include working as a human rights lawyer, an international peacemaker, and the first elected president of South Africa and holding the role of the commander-in-chief of the South Africa National Defense Force.

This year’s exercise will include field training and medical readiness exercises. Participants will be stationed at dental, health care, and veterinary clinics with a group of Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard, directly working with senior officers from the South Africa National Defense Force in planning all the exercises and events that will occur in two weeks.

Since their partnership began in 2003, New York Army and Air National Guard members have participated in South Africa air shows and military competitions and presented at South African military schools and leadership forums. South Africans, in turn, have visited New York Air National Guard bases and New York Army National Guard training events to share their knowledge.

Note: The Khanyiselisizwe High School kindly permitted photographs to be taken during the Mandela Day activities and gave consent for their publication.

Date Taken: 07.18.2022
Date Posted: 07.19.2022 07:30
Story ID: 425268
Location: ZA

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