Item 752 - Launch of Izipho, Penguin Book and Comic Series

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Launch of Izipho, Penguin Book and Comic Series


  • 2005-07-14 (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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Nelson Mandela Foundation Website

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Launch of Izipho exhibition, Penguin book and comic series

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  • English

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Ladies and gentlemen

Historians and other experts on questions of time tell me that another birthday is close, and that I am almost 100 years old. We thank you for being here today to remember this with me.

All of you here are younger than me, so won’t find it difficult to recall that in September last year we launched my Foundation’s Centre of Memory Project. Today we are marking the introduction of three initiatives undertaken by this Project.

In the foyer you will have seen the exhibition "Izipho: Madiba’s Gifts". Now, despite its title, the exhibition is not about me. It is about the people from every station in life and from all over the world who give things to me. The giving does not come from a belief on their part that I need things. Rather, it comes from a need to express emotion and feeling. We respect that need, and we receive its expression with a sense of humility and profound gratitude. We receive on behalf of the many who have contributed to the struggle for justice in South Africa. Our country represents a powerful symbol of reconciliation and hope in the world, and the gifts and awards you see in the exhibition are an acknowledgement of that. In launching “Izipho” today we are sharing the honour with all South Africans.

Institutions of memory, such as the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory project, have a significant role to play in finding the stories that are sidelined by power. Today we are also announcing two partnerships entered into by our Foundation which will contribute to the process of finding these stories and documenting our histories. While they both have a bearing on me as an individual, it is our wish that they narrate the human relationships which have enriched my life and that they engage the broader historical processes within which individual experience finds meaning.

Later this year my Foundation and Penguin South Africa will publish the first in a series of books dedicated to a systematic opening of the archive. You do not need to be reminded of the extent to which apartheid closed the archive and of the huge work that still remains to be done in order to overcome barriers to public access. The first book, titled "A Prisoner Working in the Garden", is aimed at sharing with the world prison life under apartheid through the disclosure and interpretation of original prison documentation.

The other publication project involves a partnership between my Foundation and the comic publishers Umlando Wezithombe. One of the sad realities today is that very few people, especially young people, read books. Unless we find imaginative ways of addressing this reality, future generations are in danger of losing their histories. It is our wish that the Umlando comic series will reach communities bypassed by more conventional publication projects and stimulate the storytelling which is the fabric of community life.

We are grateful to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and its Centre of Memory project for the important work that it is doing in ensuring that our histories are not lost. And we are grateful to the many partners who work with them to enable them to reach the widest audiences possible.

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Website. Accessioned on 15/12/06 by Helen Joannides




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