Item 1408 - Vrystaat Universiteit Eregraad November 2001

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ZA COM MR-S-1408


Vrystaat Universiteit Eregraad November 2001


  • 2001-11-01 - 2001-11-30 (Nov-01)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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

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  • Afrikaans
  • English

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Part of speech is in Afrikaans



It is an exceptional honour to receive these degrees from the University of the Free State and the Technikon Free State; and to be admitted to the ranks of their esteemed alumni.

Some of the most precious memories we cherish from our years in the Presidency are the relationships and interactions with the institutions of higher learning of our country. To be able to continue those relationships, as for example through the honour you bestow upon me today, is a source of great joy and satisfaction.

As we so often have cause to remark these days: we are sure that the decision to make the award is probably based more on respect for age and grey hairs than on any merit. But that does not detract one bit from the tremendous satisfaction and pride we derive from the occasion and from your generous gesture!

U inrigtings is sentrale rolspelers in die lewe van hierdie provinsie wat so 'n groot rol in die geskiedenis van ons land gespeel het, en wat steeds in groeiende mate 'n rol speel in ons nasionale lewe. Deur hierdie eerbetoon bevestig u terselfdertyd ons warme verhouding met die Vrystaatse provinsie en sy mense.

Na die vestiging van demokrasie in ons land, was die Vrystaat een van die provinsies waar verhoudings tussen die verskillende bevolkingsgedeeltes die beste was. Daar was van meet af aan 'n duidelike behoefte en wil aan die kant van die meeste mense in die provinsie om harmonie en eenheid te bewerkstellig. Versoening en nasiebou het in hierdie provinsie waarskynlik die vinnigste en stewigste gevorder.

We have followed with interest the developments at the historically Afrikaans universities and also specifically at the University of the Free State.

It is one of the remarkable aspects of our country's transformation that in general the historically Afrikaans universities responded with such enthusiasm and innovation to the challenges of change. They took tremendous initiatives to change the composition of their student bodies and to place their expertise at the service of a broader South African community.

Much remains to be done on the road of transformation - and this is true for all sectors of higher education - but the concerted change seeking efforts of the historically Afrikaans universities should be proudly recognised and acknowledged.

What the University of the Free State has done to promote diversity, a multi-cultural environment and respect and appreciation for all of the traditions and backgrounds of the people of the Province and country, has not escaped us. To many, your university represents a model in this regard.

Wat u op taalgebied bereik het, is aanprysenswaardig. Die ou Vrystaat was altyd daarvoor bekend dat hy groter verdraagsaamheid en buigsaamheid gehad het oor taalkwessies. In die huidige tydperk het u universiteit inderdaad die beste uit daardie tradisie geneem en in ons nuwe Suid-Afrika daarop voortgebou. Die Universiteit van die Vrystaat is 'n werklike tweetalige, en selfs meertalige, Suid-Afrikaanse universiteit. En u verdien ons gelukwensinge en bewondering daarvoor.

There continues to be much talk about the future of the Afrikaans language in democratic South Africa. I should be careful to enter a discussion on a topic that I know is currently being attended to by people in whose judgement I have the fullest confidence. What I can say in a general sense is that the manner in which your university, an historically Afrikaans-medium institution, has conducted itself with regard to the question of language medium, provides an exciting and viable way for the language to grow and flourish.

I had as far ago as 1995 expressed myself on this matter. I said then that within a system containing more than twenty universities it should certainly be possible to agree that there should be at least one university that has as one of its main tasks the responsibility for the sustained development of Afrikaans as a language of science and scholarship.

I am very glad to have read that this idea is receiving attention and that there are suggestions that particular institutions be charged with that responsibility. Equally positive is the proposal that those historically Afrikaans-medium institutions not explicitly included in that mandate, be strongly encouraged to continue their current bi- and multilingual approach. This means, as I understand it, that the growth of Afrikaans in an explicitly multi-lingual environment is positively encouraged. And the University of Free State has already started to prove that this route is a viable one.

The Technikon Free State is a much younger institution, but in the twenty years of its existence it has made its mark on life in the province. The emphasis on technological education is a much-needed development. One of the great challenges facing us is to speedily enhance our country's high-level skills pool in the field of technology and applied science.

Another highly commendable development we learnt about is the expansion of your activities to other parts of the province and to the Northern Cape. Sharing your expertise through reaching out makes education accessible to many who would otherwise probably not have had the opportunity.

Daar is tans in ons nasionale politiek bemoedigende tekens dat ons weer die gees van die destydse regering van nasionale eenheid wil laat herleef. Ek wil my nie by hierdie akademiese geleentheid oor party-politieke kwessies uitspreek nie. Wat ek wel kan sĂȘ, is dat nasionale pogings tot samewerking en nasiebou ons aanmoediging en ondersteuning verdien.

Die gesondheid van ons demokrasie hang onder andere ook af van lewenskragtige opposisie en debat. Dit sou egter 'n tragedie wees as daardie opposisie, opsetlik of onbedoeld, bydra tot die bevestiging van historiese rasse-verdelings.

Wat die huidige verwikkelinge belowe, is dat ons polities kan verskil, maar terselfdertyd kan saamwerk aan konstruktiewe nasiebou en nasionale ontwikkeling.

Chancellors, I make these remarks about reconciliation, nation-building and constructive co-operation amongst all our people, in a province where I know these objectives are priorities.

This university and technikon, the only ones in the province, are key agencies for the promotion of those values and objectives. We are aware of the excellence with which the University of the Free State and the Technikon Free State are playing their part in this regard. This makes it for us such a special honour to receive these degrees and to become a member of the university and technikon.

Baie dankie vir die eer wat u my aandoen.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 02/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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