Item 1238 - Notes for a Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Africare Memorial Dinner

Identity area

Reference code

ZA COM MR-S-1238


Notes for a Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Africare Memorial Dinner


  • 1994-10-06 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

Context area

Name of creator

(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

Biographical history

Archival history

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

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Africare- Bishop Walker Award

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area



There is an African proverb which succinctly captures the humanity upon which a sense of community is founded: Umuntu ngumuntu ngabanye ngabantu Motho ke motho ka batho.

The broad meaning of this proverb is that each person's humanity is ideally expressed through his or her relationship with others, and theirs in turn, through a recognition of that person's humanity.

This proverb is no less true today than it was in ages past. It describes, in simple terms, the interdependence among human beings in communities, in society and among nations of the world. It captures the qualities that our world needs today in abundance.

Africare constitutes one of those few organisations in our troubled world whose efforts fit this profound saying. In this era, in which self-interest and even selfishness, often assume the dubious mantle of virtue, the spirit of caring is a rare quality that should be commended and encouraged.

It is a singular honour for me to take part in this memorial dinner of Africare. Hailing as we do, from a country and a continent in which problems of underdevelopment permeate the lives of millions of people, we are wont to particularly value the noble work that you are engaged in.

Indeed, Africare has become a familiar name among many African communities, for the selfless efforts that you have put into alleviating the conditions of the needy. Although you were, in relative terms, only recently established, your programmes have expanded rapidly.

What gives your programmes special significance is the fact that they originate from the heart, from the African-American
community in your country - a community which itself cannot be said to be particularly well-endowed in material terms. That is why we value these efforts even more. Many settlements in our own country have also benefited from your endeavours.

Although you started operating in South Africa only some 5 years ago, the quality of your contributions is felt very keenly among those who are associated with your projects.

By setting up a field office in Johannesburg in 1992, Africare became one of the first US based development organisations to establish a presence on the ground in South Africa.

The programmes you pursue in our country range from human resource development, including training in public administration, to the provision of clean water and sanitation in peri-urban areas. Indeed, these are the issues that are high on the agenda of our own government. In tandem with the government's Reconstruction and Development Programme, Africare's projects will undoubtedly contribute to the upliftment and empowerment of our people.

This is what is required if the freedom we have attained is to have real meaning in the real life experiences of ordinary people. This is what we should jointly pursue, if the efforts of our people to bring about reconciliation and nation-building are to have lasting results.

Thus shall our humanity find full expression in a better life for all, particularly for those who have all along suffered terrible privations as a result of the system of apartheid.

Mr. President, I accept the honour bestowed on me tonight with humble gratitude. I do so on behalf of those humanitarians, in South Africa, in Africa, in the USA and elsewhere, who with courage fought against racial discrimination and injustices; and who, today are poised to fight the battle against poverty, ignorance and disease with an equal, if not greater, determination.

Yet we should acknowledge the fact that this honour is also a challenge to all of us, especially African leaders, to work even harder to resolve the problems we face and speed up all-round development in our countries.

This requires, among other things, a systematic programme to resolve and prevent conflict; the implementation of viable and sustainable economic policies; co-operation among African countries themselves; and consistent adherence to the principles of democracy and human rights.

If anything, Africare's efforts far away from your own shores, should serve as a spur to our own endeavours.

I thank you most sincerely for this honour, and pledge, on behalf of our people, that in our country, you shall always find determined and industrious communities which will build upon your assistance, to, in turn help themselves.

Together we have it in our power to improve the quality of life of all our people. We have the capacity to succeed.

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 21/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places