Item 1205 - Speech at dinner at Wadham College in Oxford : At the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies

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ZA COM MR-S-1205


Speech at dinner at Wadham College in Oxford : At the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies


  • 1997-07-11 (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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  • English

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Your Royal Highness,

Today I addressed three different meetings, and my English vocabulary has been fully exhausted. I have another difficulty. I became very close to somebody because I wanted support, loyalty, and joy. And that person gave me all these things, which helped her to brighten my life, but unfortunately that person is becoming a threat to me now because as South African people said, they said that this person is not just accompanying the President, she is coming here in her own name and right. And ever since we came here, I have played second fiddle and I would like to expose myself to further humiliation by trying to compete with her. In fact I have resolved that in the future, I am going to leave her behind.

But the coming to Oxford was like the realization of a long cherished dream because I know that one of the main strongholds of the anti-apartheid struggle was here and the communities and countries which supported us when we were all alone, they deserve our full support because our victory is their victory. We can say this of Britain from the bottom of our heart. We can say so in particular of Oxford because they kept the situation in South Africa, the suppression of human rights, very much alive and one of the greatest developments in modern times is the emergence of individuals, thousands of minds from our own homeland who have chosen the world as the battleground for their efforts, as the main theatre of their operations and who fight the suppression of human rights wherever in the world that they are suppressed, and Oxford in particular has that role in our struggle.

That has confirmed the lesson we tried to hammer in South Africa during negotiations when we said in all communities in our country, there are good men and women, even from the enemy camp. And that it is better for us to confront them with our argument face to face because in that way we are able to establish the superiority of ideas, rather than relying on tension, on conflict, and the role that has been played by Oxford has confirmed that lesson. It is therefore a great pleasure for me to share this platform with two princes. Apart from the problem that I’ve raised about being upstaged by my own partner, I was also upstaged by the presence of one prince in the meeting, the last meeting that I addressed here and I’m happy that Prince Charles was not able to attend because if there were two princes there I don’t think anybody would ever have noticed that I was there and I thank you very much your prince for your generosity.

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Acquisition method: Video Recording ; Source: Verbatim transcript by NMF. Accessioned on 22/06/2012 by Kelsey Duinkerken




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