I would like to thank the Foundation, the university community, and especially Prof Michelle Esau, for the invitation to address you this evening. The topic is daunting because it asks me to focus on the persistence of poverty, inequality and unemployment, and to examine these through the lens of Nelson Mandela’s legacy to foster social cohesion, equality, integrity and leadership.
Nelson Mandela, not one to shy away from seeking alternative ways of struggle initiated the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, and became its Commander-in-Chief in December 1960., He travelled across the African Continent, meeting with the leadership of newly independent states, and of liberation movements, seeking their support and solidarity. This was an integral part of the development of Pan-Africanism. On his return, there was a period in the underground followed by his arrest and conviction as accused number 1 in the Rivonia Trial. He exits this stage with his statement from the dock on 20 April 1964. We should all recall the ringing tones of the conclusion of that speech, so join me
The sixth stage saw him become the first President of the Republic.
The last stage that the President occupied was in the twilight of his life from 1999 to 2013, when he was aged 81 to 93. This was the stage of giving back, of mobilising resources, of reflection through writing and of quieter engagements, until his body and mind would allow him no more.
–address poverty, inequality and unemployment. I reflected earlier on what I term the seven stages of the life and times of the formidable Nelson Mandela, and throughout every stage, he demonstrated values of love, respect, integrity, service, transformation, dedication and perseverance.