Item 483 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the International Fair Play Awards

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Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the International Fair Play Awards


  • 1997-06-25 (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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ANC Website

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International Fair Play Awards

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  • English

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President of the International Committee for Fair Play;
African Members of the International Olympic Committee;

Minister of Sport, Steve Tshwete, and other Cabinet Ministers;

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am indeed honoured to be presented with the International Fair Play Trophy by you, Your Excellency.

This accolade has all the more meaning because it is being conferred at such a distinguished gathering. May I join with our hosts in extending a warm welcome to our guests, and especially our fellow Africans. We are honoured by your presence and hope that your stay in our country is a pleasant one.

All of us owe a debt of gratitude to the initiators of this Award and to the Fair Play Committee. Though we live in a world in which the good that is in people generally prevails, sadly there are also those who exploit magnanimity and openness.

We have, therefore, constantly to affirm and celebrate good deeds and social virtues. In this respect, sport today plays a pre-eminent role in expounding what is good and exemplifying what is healthy.

We need only think of the immense television audiences for the great sporting events - billions each for the two weeks of the Atlanta Olympic games and more the one month World Cup Football tournament.

Who could doubt that sport is a crucial window for the propagation of fair play and justice? After all, fair play is a value that is essential to sport!

I am delighted to learn that the International Committee for Fair Play feels that I have done something to promote this end.

In the narrow sporting sense I did strive to do this, in my short career as an amateur boxer.

More importantly, I know that in bestowing this award on me you are honouring the people of South Africa as a whole, for their long struggle for justice and for their determination to work together in pursuit of this noble value.

In particular our youth, as our future leaders, are at the forefront of this endeavour. I feel it will be fitting, therefore, for me to dedicate this award to them, knowing full well that they will not rest until the goal is achieved.

The history of our country is such that we still have to create the conditions for fair play and justice to be secure. Our government has initiated measures to address the inequalities and imbalances of the past. But this will take time. The wounds of past injustice need to be healed and the deep divisions removed for ever. Reconstruction and reconciliation, nation-building and development must go hand-in-hand.

In this process sport is a great force for unity and reconciliation. That is why we are so deeply committed to having the Olympic Games of 2004 held in Cape Town.

We believe that the road towards 2004 will accelerate the healing and reconstruction process, not only in South Africa but on the entire continent.

Africa was in the forefront of the fight against apartheid. Many great athletes and world beaters sacrificed the chance to compete internationally in order to make their protest heard. Many potential medallists withdrew from the 1976 Olympic games in protest against collaboration of the oppression of South Africans, because they believed that this was not fair play.

If we are nominated to stage the Olympic Games of 2004, we can assure you that it will be an African Olympics and an event of which the entire world will be very proud.

Your Excellency, may I thank you once again for awarding me this prestigious trophy.

It symbolises our international partnership for fair play and justice.

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 04/12/06 by Helen Joannides




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