Item 1065 - Letter to Leah Tutu on her 70th Birthday

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ZA COM MR-S-1065


Letter to Leah Tutu on her 70th Birthday


  • 2003-10-18 (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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Leah Tutu's 70th birhday

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  • English

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Dear Leah

We are unfortunately not able to be present in person on this great and joyous day when you celebrate your 70th birthday. We trust that you understand the circumstances that prevented us from being present and know that we are with you in spirit.

Words cannot tell the full story of your contribution to making South Africa the country and society slowly inching towards one that can be described as caring, human and founded upon basic values of decency. There is still so much to do and still so much performance below our human capacity; the progress we have made, however, owes so much to you and the inspirational role-model you have been.

It is so trite to say, given that you had the hard task of being wedded to a certain famous frock-wearing man, that you are a person in your own right. And indeed you are; on your own you have worked and contributed to the development of communities. It is, however, as the wife of Mpilo that you have established the independence and integrity of your own-ness, and the integrity of a relationship that exudes one-ness.

You are the example of the strong African woman: the indefatigable worker for community and extended families; the loving, caring and guiding mother; the wise and supporting spouse; the individual to whom we all turn because of your quiet confidence. You are the one who have carried so much of the suffering and pain of those close to you and for whom you care, and retained the gentleness and warmth of a loving being.

You and Mpilo have in partnership made of South Africa a great nation. We realise how much we often fail in living up to the greatness you expect of us and that you have helped make possible in our national life.

Today on the celebration of your 70th birthday we can give you no greater present than by rededicating ourselves to living up to those values that have directed your life and that you struggled for.

May you have many happy, healthy and enjoyable years ahead of you. May you and Mpilo remain the inspiring couple you have been for ourselves and for an entire nation and, indeed, world.

We are exceedingly privileged to have known you and honoured to have you count us as friends.

God bless you. God bless Africa.

Graca Machel and Nelson Mandela.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 02/03/09 by Razia Saleh




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