Item 1311 - Message from President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of The Fete De L'Humanite

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ZA COM MR-S-1311


Message from President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of The Fete De L'Humanite


  • 1996-09-14 (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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The Fete de l'Humanite

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  • English

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I would like, on this occasion, to address myself to everyone at the Fete de I'Humanite, but in particular to the young people.

As we look back over the 20th century and this millennium that is about to end, we can do so in the knowledge that we, of an older generation, have at least accomplished some major tasks.

In the middle of this century, Nazism and fascism were dealt a crushing defeat. In the second half of this century, the colonial system that deprived the majority of the world's people of basic rights was defeated in most parts of the globe.

We live in a world that, in many ways, has become more unified, and not just by technology. There is a greater awareness of different backgrounds and values, greater tolerance, and indeed, celebration of diversity within the context of a common humanity.

But who would dare to claim that all the world's problems have been solved?

My generation leaves the younger generation with some heroic examples of tasks accomplished. But we are also leaving you with huge challenges, with old and new problems.

Unemployment is rampant in many countries. It is one of the greatest maladies of our age. It affects young people disproportionately. Around the world we must identify unemployment as one of the greatest social evils of our time.

If the 19th century was an era of mass emigration from Europe to the developing world, the second half of our century has seen a reverse process. Millions and millions of people from developing countries have moved, as economic refugees, to the more developed countries. Those who uncritically praise the merits of globalisation are usually the very ones to decry this aspect of globalisation - the globalisation of the labour market, which is also a reflection of the disparities across national borders.

These mass migrations create their own new challenges for young people. For instance, There is a generation that often no longer feels it belongs to their parent's countries, and yet also does not feel part of their new country of adoption.

In addition, the vast migrations between countries, but also within countries from the countryside to the city, have often undermined older support structures, including the family. Young people find themselves thrust out, on their own into the world, without social support networks.

The social dislocations of our age have in turn helped nurture rampant criminality and a fertile ground for drug trafficking.

Faced with these enormous challenges, young people can give way to a mood of demoralisation, of despair and of anger, directed against everything and everyone else: parents, people from different social and ethnic backgrounds.

But young people can also refuse to succumb to despair. You can say no to intolerance. You can, and must, assume responsibility for changing the world, and improving the lot of all peoples.

I wish you every success in your deliberations. The future is in your hands.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 26/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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