Speeches & Remarks


Your Excellency, the President of the General Assembly,

Your Excellency, the Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Your Excellencies and Your Majesties,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


For the government and people of South Africa, the enthusiasm with which the international community has embraced the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela is truly humbling.


The people of our country, united in their diversity, revere Nelson Mandela as the founding father of our democratic nation – whose life, sacrifices and extraordinary contribution to freedom continues to inspire successive generations.


For those of us gathered here at the United Nations, Nelson Mandela will forever hold a special place in our hearts because of his dedication to the service of humanity and the promotion of peace throughout the world.


The values by which he lived and to which he dedicated his life are universal.


We are honoured and grateful that the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit has been convened in his memory.


Your Excellency, Secretary-General António Guterres,


It gives me great pleasure to present to you and the United Nations, on behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, this life-size statue of President Nelson Mandela.


We recall with great appreciation and gratitude the leading role of the United Nations in championing the struggle of the South African people against apartheid and in calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.


President Mandela firmly believed that the United Nations was the most valuable and effective instrument for the advancement of peace, development and equality that humanity had conceived.


We trust that this statue will remain a constant reminder to the international community of the dedication of Nelson Mandela to the mission of the United Nations and a constant affirmation of South Africa’s commitment to contribute to a better world for all.


I thank you.