Item 1017 - Address to the Onassis Foundation

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ZA COM MR-S-1017


Address to the Onassis Foundation


  • 2002-06-21 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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luncheon cancelled to due Mr Mandela becoming ill

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  • English

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Speech was not delivered as the luncheon had to be cancelled because Mr Mandela became ill.

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Mister President of the Foundation
Members of the Presidency
Members of the Board of Directors
Members of the Academia
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Back home I always remind myself to observe the courtesy of thanking those so thoughtful to invite to lunch or dinner a retired old pensioner without office, power or influence.

On such occasions I am reminded how powerful the respect is that people have for old age and grey hairs, because I am certain that is the compelling reason for me to receive such invitations.

Away from home I am even more conscious of the privilege, and I must thank the Onassis Foundation and all of you present here for your generous consideration. I can recommend old age: it lands you a sumptuous meal like this from time to time!

This trip will hold a special place in our memory of visits undertaken to foreign countries. In a very real way, this is a pilgrimage to a secular shrine that has deeply inspired important parts of our life. In a very profound way, we feel ourselves to be at our home away from home here in the Hellenic Republic.

Greek philosophers have inspired the quest for freedom in places around the globe. Their thoughts on democracy, freedom, governance, morality and justice served as beacons to freedom fighters and freedom loving people over the centuries. Our own liberation struggle drank deeply from that fountain of wisdom.

Your art, and I must say particularly Greek tragedy, deeply informed our understanding of human life and our ability to deal and cope with adversity. And we all know that adversity is basic to the lives of those that struggle for freedom and justice.

To be here in the cradle of democracy and of rational reflection about the human condition is therefore a very special occasion and event.

We deeply appreciate the opportunity to meet with and establish links of friendship with the Onassis Foundation. We hold in very high esteem the work that it does and the message that it sends out into the world.

After our retirement from the position of President of our country, we also established a Foundation to provide the infrastructure and capacity for us to continue some of the work that we have been engaged in even prior to our assumption of governmental office after our release from prison.

The three main areas the Foundation operates in are education, health, and the advancement of peace and reconciliation. This we do in collaboration and partnership with a variety of organisations and agencies inside and outside of South Africa.

It is therefore for us a privilege to meet with the Onassis Foundation and to explore possibilities of partnership and co-operation in the quest for building a better world where freedom and justice can reign.

Above all, it is an honour and the realisation of a long held wish to be here in the Hellenic Republic and to share with the people of this great and ancient country.

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 30/01/09 by Razia Saleh




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