SPEECH BY AMBASSADOR KEITUMETSE MATTHEWS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA ON THE LAUNCH OF MANDELA MONDAY, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF PORTUGAL, SUPPORTED BY THE NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION AND INITIATED BY OLYMPIC JUDO CHAMPION NUNO DELGADO
1 June 2011
The Secretary of State for Sport and Youth, Mr Laurentino Dias
The Hon Mayor of Lisbon and President of the City Council, Mr Antonio Costa, represented by Deputy Mayor Manuel Brito
Your Excellencies Ambassadors accredited to the Republic of Portugal
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Members of the Armed Forces
Members of the Emergency Services
Ladies and Gentlemen
Members of Non-Governmental Organisations
Children and Youth
I would like to thank the government of the Republic of Portugal through the Secretary of State Mr Laurentino Dias and in particular the Mayor of Lisbon Mr Antonio Costa for being so kind as to extend to us the people of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation the privilege of using the lovely city of Lisbon in a truly superb setting at the Terreiro do Paço overlooking the Tagus River, to launch the first International Mandela Monday.
It is also important that I mention the tremendous effort of Mr Nuno Delgado whose initiative, using the power of sport, is the basis for the launch here in Portugal today. There are 7000 people in this square who have responded to the call in support of Mandela Monday. May I commend him for the work he has done in organising such a powerful event to highlight Mandela Monday.
As you all know, the former President of the Republic of South Africa Mr Nelson Mandela, was born on the 18th July, almost 93 years ago. To mark his birthday on this special day every year, Mr Mandela asks for one gift only: that each one of us spends 67 minutes doing something good, loving and kind for someone less fortunate than we are. Many of us have heeded this call; but in truth, 67 minutes of our time once a year is not nearly enough.
So, this year 2011 the Nelson Mandela Foundation has a special request on behalf of Mr Mandela – volunteer for a good cause at least once a week preferably on a Monday for the rest of your life. That is why we are here, to take part in the launch of the first Mandela Monday to begin on 6th June 2011 and today´s celebration marks the kick-off of Mandela Day Monday led by Nuno Delgado who will show the world his unique way of doing something for others for no reward. His love for others and his passion for the youth, motivates him to pass on his skill to the young in order to inspire them to achieve, receive and give back to society.
Go on, help a child at school struggling with maths or who cannot read well, visit a lonely elderly person for a chat, give a mum who has to care for a sick child day in and day out a break, offer to go shopping with a disabled person to relieve his or her carer. We can do so much just once a week for a short time, to change someone´s life for the better. Start today, help someone in need, show your love and change your own life. Mandela Monday 6th June 2011.
Remember: ACHIEVE, RECEIVE, GIVE BACK FOR LIFE.