Item 1443 - Mandela Message on Occasion of World Environment Day : Message from President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of World Environment Day Friday 5th June 1998

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ZA COM MR-S-1443


Mandela Message on Occasion of World Environment Day : Message from President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of World Environment Day Friday 5th June 1998


  • 1998-06-05 (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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World Environment Day

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  • English

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For centuries Table Mountain has been a symbol of our mother city, Cape Town. During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island we often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain. It was in the shadow of this mountain that the first wars of resistance to colonial domination were waged by the Khoikhoi tribes that lived in the Cape Peninsula. Along the slopes of this mountain the Indonesian and Malayan slaves, forcefully wrenched from their homes in the east, laid to rest the mortal remains of their leaders, scholars and holy men. And it was to Robben Island that Sumatran princes and religious leaders were exiled by the Dutch authorities who then ruled at the Cape and in Java. The numerous shrines and kramats along the Table Mountain range and on Robben Island make these places of pilgrimage for many in our Muslim community, and tell their own story of the Human capacity for patient endurance, moral courage and strength.

To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.

To the people of South Africa, the Table Mountain Range represents a great deal more than the rocky remains of millennia of sediment. It is of immense ecological, cultural, religious and economic significance not only to the Western Cape Region, but also to the rest of the country.

As a people and as a country, South Africa is engaged in a long, arduous and challenging climb. When climbing a mountain one cannot but notice the difference in the attitude of strangers one meets. Drawn together by a common experience and purpose those one encounters are warm and encouraging. "Not much further to the top", they will tell you in a host of different accents. This too has been our experience as we scale the challenging peaks of constructing a truly democratic society.

Today, it gives me great pleasure to announce that my government has proclaimed this world renowned mountain as part of the new Cape Peninsula National Park.

Stretching from Signal Hill all the way down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula, the new national park will protect for all time the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Smallest of the world's six floral kingdoms, the Cape Floral Kingdom is unique conservation responsibility for South Africa. By proclaiming this new national park, my government has shown that it is committed to conserving this rich portion of the earth's biological heritage.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has greatly assisted South African National Parks through the establishment of the Table Mountain Fund a trust fund which will help in the long term conservation of this globally important area. I am therefore happy to announce that the proclamation of this new national park will be a South African "Gift to the Earth" in terms of WWFs international Living Plant Campaign. South Africa as a signatory to the Convention of Biological Diversity, is committed to playing its role in the conservation of the global environment. What we have done today by proclaiming the Cape Peninsula National Park, is a message to the world on World Environment Day of South Africa's real commitment to making this international convention a working reality in our country.

Signed by: Nelson Mandela President Republic of South Africa

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 08/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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