Item 1379 - Address by Nelson Mandela on Chancellor Schroder's receiving of the German Media Prize

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ZA COM MR-S-1379


Address by Nelson Mandela on Chancellor Schroder's receiving of the German Media Prize


  • 2001-03-03 (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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Chancellor Gerhard Schroder is presented with the German Media Prize for 2000

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  • English

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My faith in the goodwill and generosity of humankind keeps on being boosted by the manner in which I have seen a certain old man being treated in these last few days.

I said to President Kim Dae-jung in Seoul on Monday night that to have been invited back to Korea after our retirement is an even greater honour than when we were invited on a state visit as President. For them to have remembered an unemployed retired old man without any state power or influence touched us greatly.

And we can repeat that this evening. In 1999 we were honoured with the award of this prize. We warmly appreciated that as we mentioned in our acceptance address at the occasion. But to have been invited back here tonight to share the evening with you and with two distinguished young statesmen adds to that initial honour in ways we find hard to express in words.

It is clear that the world has not totally lost respect for grey hair and the ability to boast longevity!

I thank you for the invitation. Allow me to start by warmly congratulating Chancellor Schroder for the well-deserved honour of receiving this esteemed prize.

I recollect that the Media Prize recognises not only the individual recipient but, importantly, also the cause represented by that individual; the flame of hope and inspiration which motivated individuals to charter unknown territory for the benefit of many.

And Chancellor Schroder is without doubt of that calibre of leadership that inspires us anew with the hope that a world order can be fashioned in which those cherished values of democracy and a better life for all can be realised.

At the occasion of my acceptance of this award I referred to the fact that in our time there is so much cause for despair and cynicism. These noble enterprises of the human spirit, affirming our common humanity, lift us and show the way forward.

The twentieth century had been one of great achievement in many fields of human endeavour, particularly through spectacular advances in science and technology.

At the same time it was a century that left many of our hopes unmet. The dream of a world in which all humankind would be emancipated from poverty, deprivation and preventable suffering remained largely but a dream. In spite of our scientific advances the greatest majority of human beings on our planet continue to languish in conditions of abject poverty.

In spite of our belief in the values of democracy, equality and universal human rights, the new world order continues to favour the strong and the rich over the poor and the vulnerable. This is as true of the relations within single nations as it is the case amongst nations.

We continue to see how even our world body is sometimes used to serve the interests of stronger nations, and how in some cases that body is by-passed in the pursuit of those interests.

We witness how a continent as my own, Africa, continues to suffer under a burden which is not always or totally of its own making. We readily recognise that in many parts of the continent there was for too long serious disregard for good governance, human rights and sound economic management. All over the continent now, however, we see a return to democracy and the principles of good governance.

In spite of this many countries labour under economic hardships that are the result of the debt they carry. This is but one instance of a world cruelly tipped against the poor, creating circumstances for the poor to become even poorer.

I am proud to note the efforts of my own President, Thabo Mbeki, together with those of the Presidents of Nigeria and Algeria to put together and implement a comprehensive plan for the economic and social regeneration of our continent.

One central element of that plan is the active involvement of the developed world, not as mere suppliers of aid to a passively recipient continent; but as partners in a relationship with reciprocal benefits.

I stand here tonight because I can proudly associate with the man receiving the Media Prize, knowing that he is one of those leaders from the developing world who will actively support that kind of relationship, and who will promote it amongst his fellow leaders in the industrialised countries.

Without wishing to comment on or interfere in a matter that is sub judice, I cannot but be reminded of a case presently being heard before the courts of my country. Major pharmaceutical companies are jointly challenging the government about their legislative efforts to bring drugs to people at affordable levels. Without going into the details of the case, here we have an example where multi-national companies are seen to put considerations of profit above the public health interests of poorer nations.

We look to your generation of leadership, Chancellor Schroder, to take a lead in creating a world in which those forms of global inequality will become something of our past. We salute you for the inspiring leadership you have already given in this regard.

The other former world leader present here as a previous recipient of the Media Prize - and a man we know who shall continue to play his part - once said in memorable words: "It is not a question of what we can to for Africa, but what we can do with Africa."

It is that spirit that joins these two exceptional leaders, Chancellor Schroder and President Clinton. It is that new vision of the world that they represent and promote, that makes me so proud to be here tonight.

I had to fly from East Asia to be here tonight, returning from here back to India. That is no sacrifice: this event and this coming together with two valued and respected friends represent a symbol of what the world can be in the twenty-first century. A world in which Africa, from where I originate, Asia from where and whereto I travel to be here, and Europe and the United States, home to these two leaders, can effortlessly join hands in friendship.

Thank you, dear friends, for receiving me here this evening. May you prosper in your efforts to build a truly better world for all of our children.

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 01/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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