Government is moving away from old traditions and will be adopting new ways in celebrating the centenary birthdays of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu this year.

This is according to Jeff Radebe, Energy Minister and Chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for the celebrations.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee says preparations are well underway for the centenary celebrations of the two struggle icons.

Minister Radebe has announced that the traditional 67 minutes programme – involving civic acts and good deeds – will now make way for a National Day of Service. This is in line with the new spirit of Thuma Mina, to help build South Africa.

Minister Radebe also used the occasion to thank, in particular, the SABC, for promoting Madiba’s legacy through a number of programmes on radio, television and online.

“We also acknowledge all sectors of society, business and the media partners for their contributions in making sure that the centenary messages reach the multitude of South Africans in particular SABC for a number of Radio and TV programmes and events – including the widely viewed 50 day countdown and online radio called Radio Mandela, launched on the 4th of July.”

A bronze bust and statue – depicting the head and shoulders of Mama Albertina Sisulu – will be unveiled at the National Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort, south of Johannesburg. She committed her life to fighting for human rights for women and children.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee has also confirmed that the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will be delivered by former American President, Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the inspirational amputee Comrades Marathon runner, Xolani Luvuno, will participate with 100 other runners in the 100 km marathon at Madiba’s birth place in Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape.