Item 556 - Speech at the Ireland Fund of South Africa Charity Dinner

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Speech at the Ireland Fund of South Africa Charity Dinner


  • 1998-02-20 (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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Ireland Fund Charity Dinner

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  • English

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Paragraph beginning: "I know that Deputy-President Mbeki "
Sentence in web text: "Only I might no put it as diplomatically as he did"
Changes made: "no" changed to "not"



Master of Ceremonies;
Dr. Tony O'Reilly;
Distinguished guests,

In the company of so many accomplished descendants of a people renowned for their gift of the gab, as well as so many others whose business is to interpret and analyse words, any self-respecting politician ought to be very careful about what he or she says.

But fortunately tonight is not concerned with policies and prescriptions. It is not a time to give undertakings or render account, nor for debates on divisive matter.

I therefore do not need to feel intimidated.

Indeed, I would like to extend a special welcome to the eminent members of the International Advisory Board, amongst them many old and special friends of South Africa, who are facilitating the transformation of one of South Africa's major newspaper publishers.

I know that Deputy-President Mbeki was with you just the other day. And so I need not intrude on the real purpose of this evening be raising media matters. That is because, contrary to popular wisdom, I agree with everything he said to you. Only I might not put it as diplomatically as he did!

Ladies and gentlemen;

We are gathered to promote causes that unite people everywhere, because they are so close to our hearts.

This is not only a special occasion, but a rather unique one. It brings together two endeavours that have been successful beyond all expectation in providing a way for people to make their own individual contribution to matters of the utmost importance to society.

When we launched our Children's Fund to help repair some of the damage which apartheid had done to our youth, we knew it had great potential to draw on the love which South Africans feel for their children.

But I must say that we underestimated the extent to which people shared our concern, both here and overseas. In its short life the Fund has raised R60 million. Even more important, by March it will have used R20 million to help ensure young people homes, adequate education, freedom from abuse and safe places to play.

None of the goals that South Africans have set themselves as a nation can be achieved by government alone. Organisations like the Children's Fund are critical in mobilising resources and acting as a catalyst in building a brighter future for our children.

The Ireland Funds have also grown far beyond what could have been imagined when the first visionary step was taken by Tony O'Reilly and others more than two decades ago. Their presence in so many countries and the scale of their success testify to how deeply people in every walk of life desire friendship and peace. It shows how ready people are to contribute to community development when given the opportunity to do so.

It is a great joy to know that over and above what goes to the Children's Fund tonight, funds already raised by the Ireland Fund of South Africa and the proceeds of future activities are to be applied to upliftment projects in South Africa. This is but one of the ways in which our Irish community is contributing to the New Patriotism that is building our new South Africa.

Tonight's occasion takes on added significance when we recall that the first Ireland Fund was launched in 1976, the year in which South Africa's children were so brutally assaulted by the apartheid regime; and when we think of how our three brief years of freedom have allowed us to make a real start in addressing the basic needs of our people, especially our children.

Without reconciliation and the peace it has brought, none of that would have been possible. South Africans take pride in having united those once locked in bitter conflict, and we wish the Irish people every success in their efforts to find peace.

Ladies and gentlemen;

We are most grateful to the Ireland Fund of South Africa for an occasion which brings joint benefit to two such worthy causes.

Your generosity will promote reconciliation and development. It will bring happiness to our children. They deserve no less.

I thank you!

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




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