Item 076 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Memorial for Clive Menell

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Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Memorial for Clive Menell


  • 1996-08-04 (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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South African Government Information Website (

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  • English

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Irene Menell, and the Menell family;
Ladies and gentlemen

Clive Menell was a leader of great distinction and a person of rare quality. The rich contribution he made to our society and the imprint he has left on its history goes far beyond what is known by each one of us who had the privilege to work with him or to count him amongst our friends. It is only now, when we come together from the many walks of life that he touched, that the sum of his gifts can be felt.

Born into privilege of a kind that few people can ever know, he gave of his energies and talents not only in his inherited station, but also to the cause of changing our society and upliftment of the poor. The combination of vision with the capacity to give it practical effect made him a leader in many spheres.

Transformation in South Africa and global economic change have brought historic challenges to our business community - it will sorely miss the leadership of Clive Menell, who has helped guide it through this period of economic, political and social transition. Our economy needs leaders who can pursue the interrelated goals of competing in the global market-place and building a partnership of business, government and labour for growth, reconstruction and development.

Our young people are the nation's greatest asset, and education therefore has immense power to shape the character of our society. The small band of visionaries who established Waterford School were affirming, in a very practical and concrete way, and during apartheid's darkest years, that even those who were able to enjoy the privileges of the system could also align themselves with the oppressed for a non-racial future. My own children, like those of many other friends of mine, studied at Waterford. Many of the school's students, some of them in leadership positions, are now helping to build our Rainbow Nation.

It was this same understanding of the importance of education for our future which led Clive to devote his energies to promoting student exchange that would bring educational opportunities to those denied it in their own country.

The plight of South Africa's children as a consequence of apartheid, is one of the most shameful blots on our country's history. I long cherished the vision of South Africans from every quarter of society joining hands to redeem that neglect. When the time came to make that a reality, in the form of the Children's Fund, Clive Menell's experience, and the time he unstintingly gave, were of immense value.

Many people, including myself, will sorely miss Clive. Our thoughts are with you, Irene, and the family, knowing that your loss is a much deeper one. But we do all take comfort in the knowledge that his life has helped make ours a better society, and that he will be remembered by so many with love and appreciation.

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: South African Government Information Website. Accessioned on 8 Nov 2006 by Helen Joannides




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