Item 1204 - Speech by Mr Nelson Mandela at the occasion of the renaming of the University of Natal's Medical School

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ZA COM MR-S-1204


Speech by Mr Nelson Mandela at the occasion of the renaming of the University of Natal's Medical School


  • 2000-07-29 (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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Renaming of the University of Natal Medical School to the "Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine"

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  • English

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The recent conference on HIV/Aids held here in this city, has sharply focussed our attention on and heightened our awareness of the critical role of health care in realising any hopes we may have of developing our country and building a better life for its people.
We shall not survive as a nation and a people, our children shall not have a future, unless we rise to the massive challenges of eradicating illness and disease, preventing ill health and educating a healthy nation.
The scourge of HIV/Aids faces us as the major threat of our time. In addition, poverty and deprivation create the circumstances for the propagation and spread of various other diseases and illnesses.
We always knew that the attainment of our freedom and our democratic order was not the end of our struggle. That struggle has entered a new phase and taken on a new form. Democracy has meant that we have all now assumed the common responsibility for our own fate. The building of a better life for all, and particularly for the poor amongst us, has become the task of our new struggle.
The health workers and professionals are crucial to that new phase of our struggle. And it is in recognition of that critical role that we are gathered here this evening. We are here to salute
and pay tribute to a history of achievement, and to rededicate ourselves to a future of service.
The Medical School here at Natal University is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. In congratulating them, we take cognisance of the fact that it was this university that for a long time had the responsibility of educating black doctors. We remember tonight all the men and women who have graduated from here to serve their country and people. We remember particularly the many black doctors who rose from here to serve under trying circumstances and who became role models in their communities.
I have in a modest way tried to pay homage to the heritage of service by the health workers of our country. Ever since our release from prison, and even before becoming President of the country, I have gone to the business leaders of our country, inviting them to accompany me to the poorest and least serviced parts of the country to see that deprivation for themselves. Out of those visits has resulted the building by the private sector of many clinics, together with schools, in various parts of the country.
That project continued throughout our Presidency and we are now in retirement conducting it through the Foundation established in our name. As I have said, this project of building clinics also pays homage to the dedication of generations of health workers and professional in this country. It is done in recognition of the fact that government alone cannot provide in the massive needs that exist, and that partnerships in all areas of life are crucial.
The providers of education and training are critical components of those partnerships, in the medical field no less than in others. It is for that reason such a great honour for us to be here this evening, celebrating with you.
We are particularly honoured to be able to announce the renaming of the Medical School after ourselves.
We are greatly humbled by this gesture. One does not seek in life to have your name emblazoned in bright lights. To serve where one is privileged to have been provided the opportunity to do so, is reward enough. It is a rare honour when an august institution of service, like this Medical School, chooses to associate itself with one's name.
I thank you most sincerely for the honour, confident in the knowledge that the Nelson Mandela Medical School will continue the proud tradition and redouble its efforts of serving the people of our country.
The challenges are great. We cannot grow in the competitive modern world without producing trained and educated professionals of the highest quality. We cannot survive and sustain ourselves without fighting and eradicating preventable disease, and creating the circumstances for healthy living amongst the masses of our people. It is to that task that the Nelson Mandela Medical School remains called.
I thank you.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 20/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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