Item 1390 - Address by Nelson Mandela at a banquet to honour the Newsmaker Award of the year by the Johannesburg Press Club

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ZA COM MR-S-1390


Address by Nelson Mandela at a banquet to honour the Newsmaker Award of the year by the Johannesburg Press Club


  • 2000-11-30 (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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Banquet awarding the Newsmaker of the Year Award, 2000

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  • English

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This year's recipients of the Newsmaker Award must certainly be accepting the award with mixed feelings. I am sure the event that led to them being recognised is an experience that they would have wished not to have had. On the other hand, we all share in their obvious joy that things in the end so transpired that they could make it home and to this newsmakers occasion.

When we therefore congratulate Monique and Callie on receiving this award, it is with a sense of relief and joy that their ordeal ended in the way it did. We take this opportunity of once more welcoming them home and wishing them well for the future. We commend them for the courage they displayed under the most testing circumstances and wish them to know how proud they made all of us as South Africans for the manner in which they conducted themselves.

One outstanding feature of that episode that will remain in our memory is the way in which South Africans rallied around this couple. Their story was followed with an intense interest and concern by the whole nation as if they were relatives of all of us. It took this moment of personal suffering and danger to starkly remind us again that we are one people with a common destiny and common responsibility to care for and about each other. The national mood of a common patriotism was vividly captured in the pictures of the Minister of Foreign Affairs chaperoning the couple back and the President officially receiving and welcoming them.

We trust that the coming together of the nation in that event will persist and be consolidated in our ordinary and everyday lives. There has been a tendency of late to focus on and highlight the shortcomings in our capacity to live together harmoniously. It is absolutely necessary that we identify our problems and discuss them frankly; that we be realistic and not hide behind false dreams. At the same time we should not allow ourselves to be talked into such despair that we fail to recognise the great strides we have already made. The episode of Monique and Callie came just at the right time to remind us once more that the rainbow nation is not dead; that we are one people, despite our differences and tensions.

The resolution of the hostage drama owes much to the Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and as a nation we need to thank him for that. We are happy that we could have played a small role in resolving a situation that for a long time plagued his country in its international relations. We are grateful that he now continues to play an increasingly important role on the international stage, particularly in helping to resolve situations of conflict on our continent. This is but one more demonstration of the fact that in this globalised world we are the proverbial keepers of our brother and sister.

We cannot speak at an event like this without paying tribute to the media. As public figures we are often irritated by what we experience as the intrusive presumptuousness of the media. At the same time we realise that they are irreplaceable parts of our democratic society and order. They give voice where otherwise silence would have reigned. They bring to the fore the ills that would otherwise have remained hidden and unattended to. They also help us, as in the case of Monique and Callie, to share our human anxieties and to celebrate our common humanity. We pay tribute to our South African media. Continue to nag us, holding up a mirror in which we can see ourselves. Continue also to remind us what binds us, what we can celebrate together.

To Monique and Callie, once more: congratulations, we are happy to have you back amongst us, and let it go well with you.

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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