Tribute by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe, at the Thanksgiving Service to Celebrate the Life and Work of Former President Nelson Mandela, London, United Kingdom, 03 March 2014

Nelson Mandela, a visionary leader, represented the possibility of a better human society, not only in South Africa but in the world at large.  His life gave bearing to transcendent values.

Nelson Mandela never claimed glory even when he achieved great things.
He was shaped by the struggle, which shunned confrontation but held values of compassion and solidarity that went beyond simple opposition to apartheid.  The struggle sought to advance social comfort and to embrace the value of the natural environment.
Inheritors of his dream have the unenviable challenge to make the dream for which Mandela lived come to pass.

We can no longer be indifferent in a world where children’s stomachs are bloated with hunger when there is more than enough to feed the world.
We can no longer pretend that racial discrimination is a figment of the imagination, in a world where heightened racial consciousness confines millions to the margins of global society.

Humanity must consciously strive to free political activity, democracy, and the right to differ without the prospect of imprisonment, torture and assassination. 
The most enduring monument we can build to Mandela’s memory is to strive for human solidarity, to conquer racism and sexism, to eradicate social inequalities, educate the masses, make health accessible to all, and uphold a human rights culture.

Posterity will look at the current generation in the light of the Mandela experience.  If we fail it will not make sense to future generations that while Mandela evolved into a rugged moral force that edged humanity higher on the plane of civilisation, those who followed him either failed to live up to his philosophy or simply destroyed his dream.

Transfiguring the Mandela consciousness means boldly addressing global racial inequalities.  While this cannot be the task of one nation, Britain is among the nation better suited to lead this charge. 

As Nelson Mandela taught us:”

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”.





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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa