Item 758 - Signing ceremony for the handover of Presidential Gifts to the Department of Arts and Culture

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Signing ceremony for the handover of Presidential Gifts to the Department of Arts and Culture


  • 2005-02-22 (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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Handover of Presidential Gifts to the Department of Arts and Culture

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  • English

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Minister Jordan
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great pleasure for me to be here today, to participate in a ceremony which will hopefully be of significance to the people of Umtata and the rest of South Africa.

During the five years that I was President of this country, honours big and small were bestowed on me by institutions and people from across the world. I call these diverse gifts, awards and prizes "honours" because I was honoured to receive each and every one of them. And the honour was enjoyed not only by me as an individual. For on each occasion, they were received on behalf of many comrades and colleagues who have stood beside me in the long struggles which have brought us to where we are now. And as a very old lawyer I know well that these honours were given to me as an official representative of the country - a country whose traditions are steeped in struggles for justice, in overcoming hardship and adversity; a country which continues to be an outstanding example of reconciliation and hope.

Today, then, we are delighted formally to share these honours with the people of South Africa. In truth I have never owned them as an individual, and have always believed that they are owned by all the people of South Africa. But lawyers like pieces of paper. So Minister Pallo Jordan and I wish, by means of paper, to place them in the hands
of the people. By formally and legally donating them to the national Department of Arts and Culture, we are asking not only that they be kept safe by the state, but also that they be used in such a way that South Africans will be able to see and enjoy them.

We have no doubt that the Nelson Mandela Museum, which has facilities in Umtata, Qunu and Mvezo, is the appropriate repository for the Presidential collection of honours. The Museum has indicated that the collection will become a core resource and be linked to such museum programmes as the Qunu Youth and Heritage Centre. It is our hope that the collection will represent many important stories and lessons. And remind us of the respect and understanding with which the rest of world has engaged post-apartheid South Africa.

It is fitting that we sign this deed of donation and conduct this handover ceremony in a month that marks a major milestone in the museum’s life, as the museum turns five years old. I congratulate and commend the museum council and staff on five years of service to the people. Most importantly I am heartened by the progress made towards becoming a living museum that inspires and empowers people through education, culture, tourism and development.

On the Nelson Mandela Museum’s fifth anniversary and beyond I invite and encourage all people of goodwill, to continue to contribute generously to the museum’s success.

Finally, I wish to congratulate Minister Jordan, his Department, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the National Cultural History Museum and the Nelson Mandela Museum for the exemplary fashion in which they have concluded this donation on my behalf. I am grateful for their energy, their integrity, and their respect for an old man. Let this be a lesson to all who would work with and share in what has been called my legacy.

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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