Below are excerpts from a speech given by President Nelson Mandela at a gathering of 50,000 school children on April 23rd 1997 in Durban Kings Park Soccer stadium called the “Festival for the Children of the Rainbow Nation” with Nelson Mandela as its Guest of Honour..
"The programme of our government is like building a big house for all South Africans. It must be well-built with strong foundations. It must be big enough to shelter the whole family; and all who live in it must be in comfort and have their basic needs met.
Many of you are too young to remember much about the old house of apartheid. It was built on very shaky foundations. It barred doors and divided us into a few who lived well and the rest who were held back, and then it kept us apart from each other. Your parents` generation had to fight apartheid, get rid of it and then lay the foundation for a free and secure society. It is only three years since South Africa achieved democracy. But in that time the foundations for a better life have been laid. Now it is up to each one of us help build on those foundations." .
Nelson Mandela together with Indradymna Swami
"You should never forget that most of your parents did not have the rights that you enjoy; and that they struggled hard and sacrificed much so that you could enjoy them. We must all work even harder to protect them. By studying hard at school and acquiring skills so that you can become productive members of society you will also protect our new democracy and make South Africa a better place to live. When I look at the joy on your faces I know that we have a bright future. Let us all work together to ensure that our country grows into a happy family, free from the divisions and the poverty of the past.
One of the most important building blocks is our concern for our children. That is why children have special protection in our new constitution, the most important law of our land. That is why one of the first things the government did was to make sure that young children under the age of six could get free health care in the clinics and hospitals of our country. That is why we have school feeding schemes, to make sure children do not go hungry at school. That is why we are making sure that all South Africa`s children can get the best education the country can afford. And that is why we are doing our best to prevent the abuse of children." More on: Read more ».
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"Because he spent more than 25 years from 1964 to 1990 in prison, from where he could only inspire by invisible, reported, example, it is easy to forget what a man of action Mandela was – both in the years before the Rivonia trial in 1964, and again, crucially, in the negotiations for the end of apartheid and the coming of democracy after he was released. As accounts of Mandela’s life attest, he could be hardheaded and demanding as well as relaxed and generous." > One.org: In memory of Nelson Mandela