As Nelson Mandela is remembered, American business magnate, entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor, and programmer Bill Gates, calls on South Africans to work together to ensure a better and clear future for the African Continent as he delivered his message to commemorate Nelson Mandela day.
The Microsoft co-founder who was delivering the Nelson Mandela memorial lecture at the University of Pretoria on Sunday night said obstacles in the path of African youths needed to be cleared so that they can fulfill the dreams of Nelson Mandela.
“Nelson Mandela said young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down towers of oppression and raising the bars of freedom. But our duty is not merely to arouse, our duty is to invest in these young people, to put in place the basic building blocks so they can build the future.”
He then called on the government to enable positive change and invest in young people.
According to Gates, South Africans are still living together in the fullest sense, so much closer because Nelson Mandela and many others believed in the promise of one South Africa.
Giving an account of his encounter with Mandela, Gates said: “I was nine years old when Nelson Mandela went to Robben Island. As a boy, I learned about him in school. I remember seeing reports about the anti-apartheid movement on the evening news”.
He also recounted that the first time he spoke with him (Mandela) was when the late hero called him to help fund South Africa’s election.
“I admired Nelson Mandela very much, I knew the election was historic, and I did what I could to help.”
Invest In The Youths
Speaking further, Bill Gates said the duty nations had was to invest in young people‚ to put in place the basic building blocks so that they could build the future.
Gates added that Nelson Mandela was concerned about the future and he believed that people could make it better than the past, which was why his life embodied the theme of living together.
“One topic Nelson Mandela came back to was the power of the youth … that is one reason why I am optimistic about the future of this continent. The youth are a special source of dynamism.
It’s clear to everyone how big and complicated the challenges are. But it’s just as clear that people with bravery‚ energy‚ intellect‚ passion‚ and stamina can face big‚ complicated challenges and overcome them.
We must clear the obstacles for young people … if we invest in the right things and ensure that the basic needs of Africa’s young people are taken care of, they will have the ability to change the future.
Let us do everything within our power to help build a future Nelson Mandela dreamed of and a future we can achieve together,” he concluded.
Gates acknowledged the fact that South Africa is fast progressing despite huge economic and political challenges. He, however, noted that South Africa still has a lot of work to do.
He agreed with Mandela’s vision about young people, saying that is one reason why he is optimistic about the future of Africa. “Demographically‚ Africa is the world’s youngest continent‚ and its youth can be the source of a special dynamism”.
Quick Facts You Need to Know about Nelson Mandela Day
- Also known as Mandela Day, Nelson Mandela Day is held each year on the July 18 in remembrance of his contribution to peace and freedom.
- The day was first launched in November 2009, falling on the same day as Mandela’s birthday, and it was reached by a unanimous decision by the UN General Assembly.
- The first Nelson Mandela Day was celebrated on July 18, 2010, after it was decided upon the previous year.
- Even as the life and legacy of Madiba is celebrated on that day, the day also calls on everyone to work towards the peace and freedom of everyone and to bring about positive change.
- Also, there is the challenge that is associated to the day, apart from the freedom of others, and that is the freedom of self, which is the first call, before freeing others and being of service to those in need.
- To mark the day, there are different events that organized including lectures, arts and educational events, fundraising, volunteer events as well as and a concert. All events are tuned to move with the theme of the year’s commemoration.