Nelson Mandela – Ex President of South AfricaI am very happy to be here with you in London to receive the 2000 EMMA – Ethnic Multicultural Media Award. (Nelson Mandela Acceptance Speech Clip)

I must firstly apologise for not being able to have been present when the award was bestowed on me last month, and I would like to thank Doreen Lawrence for receiving the award on my behalf.

I would also like to acknowledge here today those who were actively involved in making this award to me, but also to those present here for their contribution to our struggle for democracy and peace. Let me acknowledge our own Donald Woods and other patrons as well as the team members of the EMMA Award.

I thank the judges and those who saw fit to bestow this award on me. I am sure that I can speak for all South Africans, black and white, that this award is recognition of their struggle for peace and democracy in our country.

The EMMA is a great initiative to bring together and to acknowledge publicly the professionalism, expertise and contribution of the recipients. This award acknowledges that there are many young and old who have and will continue to make a great contribution to the ethnic and media mainstream in Britain.

I would like to say to the patrons and people in EMMA that they are doing a wonderful job of cementing solidarity with the people of South Africa. This solidarity has over many years brought the people of Britain and South Africa closer together. When we see Doreen Lawrence, we recognise our collective pain and our determination to stamp out racism wherever we find it.

I thank you all once again for your support and solidarity with the people of South Africa and on my own behalf I thank you for this award. I hope that my receipt of this award will in a small way add value to the work that EMMA is doing in promoting cultural diversity and co-operation.

I wish you well in your endeavours to motivate marginalised groups to strive towards excellence and to occupy their rightful place in the mainstream media and in the world.

I thank you.

Nelson Mandela


 EMMA interviews Nelson Mandela

What were your initial reflections on the eve of the new millennium?

That the people of the world would find a way to live in peace, not to forget the past, but to reconcile all the aspects of history and turn it into an experience on how to deal with conflict, reconciliation, and how to live peacefully with one’s neighbours regardless of the past and the damage it may have done.

Is the definition of multi-culturalism undergoing a quiet revolution?

Multi-culturalism has been a clear fact as long as the world exists. The fact that multi-culturalism had been brought into the spotlight only recently is a long-overdue process, which no one in the world could or should have prevented. To suppress multi-culturalism will cause revolution. Human rights are based on the freedom of all cultures, religions and beliefs to be freely practised.

How was it like meeting the Spice Girls?

I have met many people among whom there were brilliant actors, actresses, musicians, politicians and ordinary people. All of them in their own right have succeeded in their own way in life. The Spice Girls are quite an energetic group of women. After Prince Charles and I had met them, the Prince commented: “They left us bruised”. I felt the same.

How do you feel about receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award?

I am obviously thrilled by the honour you have decided to bestow upon me. But I do not accept it as an individual. I accept it on behalf of all the people of South Africa who have contributed to the freedom of my people and all the people inside and outside our country who have secured the peaceful transition of this country and turned it into a free society.

Can you describe your most recent happiest moment?

My life is filled with joy. I have interacted with many wonderful people who have all decided that life is about contribution to society and its people. These people are all builders in their own right to ensure peace throughout the world.

How do you enjoy your free time?

I am, due to my involvement in the Burundi Peace Process, and other engagements, quite busy at this stage and do not really have a lot of free time at hand. I do, however, enjoy spending time with my wife, grandchildren and the rest of the family. Whenever I do find a free moment, I enjoy reading and writing.

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