Item 1521 - Speech delivered by Nelson Mandela on World Aids Day

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ZA COM MR-S-1521


Speech delivered by Nelson Mandela on World Aids Day


  • 2000-12-01 (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 AIDS Day

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  • English

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Speech was drafted by Lucky Mazibuko. The speech was featured as a front pager for the Sowetan on the day.



Our country is facing a national disaster of immeasurable proportions with the scourge of the HIV/Aids pandemic. We are fighting a silent and invisible enemy that is threatening the very fabric of our society. HIV/Aids is a killer pandemic, but it can be defeated. We can triumph over it, but we have to be disciplined and observe some basic social values that have been the strength of our forebears.

The first step is to encourage sex education in the home, at schools and other social institutions like churches. The United Nation's Aids campaign, UNAIDS encourages three basic principles known as the ABC - Abstain from sex - especially young children, Be Faithful to one partner and use a Condom . We must adopt this as national mantra.

The second step is to urge all our people to heighten tolerance of those infected and living with HIV/Aids. Leaders in all spheres of society who are living with HIV should lead by example and disclose their HIV status. This way more people can follow their lead. Disclosure will give us a fighting chance to defeat this scourge. As long as we are unable to assess the spread of the disease, we will not be able to effectively fight it.

We must recognise that for most of the time that the pandemic spread like wild fire, we were all in a state of self denial about HIV/Aids. Many simply believed it did not exist, others that it affected only people with certain sexual orientation, or social standing. But when the reality began to dawn, we reacted with condemnation of those infected, forcing them to carry it in silence and die in silence.

The time has now come for every man, woman and child to take visible steps to help rid our country of the scourge. Let us do the ABC, let's speak freely and openly about HIV/Aids and sex education, let us be more tolerant and helpful to those infected and let us encourage those who are infected to tell a friend.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 23/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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