Item 251 - Statement by President Nelson Mandela at the media conference on the launch of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund

Identity area

Reference code



Statement by President Nelson Mandela at the media conference on the launch of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund


  • 1995-05-08 (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

ANC Website

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Media Conference on the launch of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund

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



Ladies and Gentlemen of the media;
Distinguished Trustees present here.

Last year, at the commemoration of June 16, South Africa Youth Day, I made a pledge to contribute R150,000 of my salary per year to a children's trust fund named after the President. I emphasised then that this amount would be paid on an annual basis, even if there was a cut in the President's salary.

A cheque was presented the same afternoon to Senator Sam Motsuenyane, President of the African Bank. Today, almost a year later, I will take the opportunity to present this year's amount.

It is not my task on this occasion to detail the evolution of the Fund over the past 11 months. As you can see, I am flanked by men and women of great repute, who possess a wealth of experience on these matters. I will therefore leave the elaboration of issues relevant to the Fund in their capable hands.

Suffice it here to underscore some important matters of principle.

The purpose of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund is to help inspire new efforts and strengthen existing ones aimed at alleviating conditions of South African young people in dire need. Our primary focus is on youth under the age of 30 years who are homeless, who have not had the privilege of formal education or who are in detention.

I view it personally as one of the greatest tragedies of our nation's history that young people who would otherwise have been developing their talents to the full, and making a valuable contribution to society, are, by dint primarily of the system of apartheid, living a life of hermits and outcasts.

Like all of us, they deserve a better social and family environment to fulfil their dreams. They deserve, and indeed desire, to live a normal life as upright citizens. They are justified in expecting of the new, democratic order, meaningful assistance in the quest for a better future.

Though this tragic situation plays itself out to varying degrees in all communities, black children - African, Coloured and Indian - are worse off.

We all have a responsibility to contribute in eradicating the wretched existence of what is in fact a significant segment of the nation's future.

In taking the first steps towards setting up this Children's Fund, we knew we were making only a humble contribution to a task that devolves on the nation as a whole - be it government, the private sector and indeed local communities and individual citizens.

The Trust Fund is therefore not an isolated initiative; but one in a rich alliance of structures which have taken it upon themselves to make a practical contribution to the future of disadvantaged youth.

Neither is it an act of charity; nor the self-serving gesture of distant and condescending philanthropists. At the core of the Fund's approach is to help these young people to help themselves.

Over the past months, we have had a wave of responses far exceeding our most optimistic forecasts. Today, the Fund has in its account just over R1,9-million in donations by companies and individual business-persons, governments and private citizens both in South Africa and further afield. We would wish to single out those contributors who have pledged to donate at least R150 000 on a yearly basis for five years and more. Others have offered facilities and other resources.

Today is our unique opportunity to formally say: thank you most profoundly to all the donors! We acknowledge the material sacrifice tempered by compassion for a good cause.

In formally launching the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund this evening, we shall also be launching a more systematic and people-centred fund-raising drive. I should repeat: all donations - large and small - are welcome.

We shall also be starting to process applications in accordance with the principles outlined in the brochure. Such allocations will essentially be from the annual income that the Fund derives from investment, so as to ensure that it can operate on a sustainable basis.

Needless to say, the Trustees and management will ensure the highest moral principles, professionalism, inclusivity, non-partisanship, non-sexism and non-racialism in the operation of the Fund.

For the Trustees and management, and for me personally, this is a joyous day in the life of the Fund; a dream come true. But it is only the beginning of a hard slog in a difficult, but challenging and fulfilling, endeavour.

Perhaps the only appropriate words on this occasion are: let's get down to work!

I thank you.

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: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 15/11/06 by Helen Joannides




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places