عربى

 

INTERNATIONAL NELSON MANDELA DAY

STATEMENT BY SOUTH AFRICAN AMBASSADOR NOLUTHANDO MAYENDE-SIBIYA

TO THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT

24 JULY 2011


 

Ms Khawla Mattar, United National Information Centre, (UNIC) Director in Cairo

Mr Mohamed Dairi, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, (UNHCR) Representative in Cairo

Honourable guests

Ladies and gentlemen


 

On the 18 July 2011, the world marked the 93rd birthday of Nelson Mandela, a day that the United Nations declared “Nelson Mandela International Day’ on 18 July 2010 in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s contribution to global peace and freedom, and adopted the resolution to commemorate his long-standing commitment to promotiong conflict resolution, race relations, human rights, reconciliation and gender equality.
 

This year, the day comes as the world welcomed a new member of the United Nations and as Africa also witnessed the birth of a new African country of South Sudan. It is indeed a pleasure to mark this important day with the children of South Sudan amongst us today.

 

Nelson Mandela was born on the 18 July 1918, in South Africa. He qualified as a lawyer in 1942 from the University of Witwatersrand. In 1944 he joined the African National Congress (ANC) in a resistance campaign against the violent racist Apartheid regime policies that were designed to disenfranchise the black majority.
 

After the banning of the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela spearheaded the creation of Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) a military wing of the ANC which was commonly known as the MK.
 

In 1962 Mandela was arrested and sentensed to five years in imprisonment with hard labour. He was also one of the Treason Trialist in 1963 together with many of the ANC leadership, where his court statement received considerable international publicity.
 

On June 12, 1964 eight of the accused Treason Trialists including Mandela were sentenced to life imprisonement. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison from 1964 to 1982 (18 years) and later transferred to Pollsmoor Prison where he spent the rest of his prison term. Nelson Mandela spent a total of 27 years of his life imprisoned for fighting for the emancipation of not only black South Africans but also the freedom for all Africans from the shackles of its colonial past.
 

In 1994 Nelson Mandela was elected the first president of a democratic South Africa and remained the servant of the people until his retirement in 1999.
 

Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All it is asked of us, is for everyone to give 67 minutes of our time, whether it is supporting a chosen charity or serving a local community.
 

International Mandela Day is a call to action to everyone of us to take reponsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mandela did. In his own words he said:
 

we can change the world and make it a better place.

It is in your hands to make a difference.”

 

Let this day inspire all of us from now on to:

 

Take Action, Inspire Change and Make Every Day a Mandela Day.

 

   
 

 

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