Nelson Mandela Speech: Freedom and Justice

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Nelson Mandela Speech: Freedom and Justice

Watch this famous Nelson Mandela Speech. Mandela was awarded an honorary degree during a special ceremony at Harvard in September 1998. Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected president of South Africa. He had to shift the culture of a country after the end of the apartheid regime, which enforced separation of the races and stifled freedom of the press. He established more open dialogue, encouraged communication about past abuses without taking revenge, created new relationships among people, and focused on economic empowerment for the black majority. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.

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Nelson Mandela Quote:

Nelson Mandela Quote

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela full TRANSCRIPT:

“Ladies and Gentlemen.

This may very well be our last official visit to the United States before retiring from office next year. There could not been a more moving start to the visit than one which included being honoured in this way by one of the great educational institutions of this nation and of the world. I know that through this award you are not so much recognising any individual achievement, but are rather paying tribute to the struggles and achievements of the South African people as a whole. I humbly accept the award in that spirit, while at the same time wishing you to know that we are not unaware of nor unmoved by the great compliment you pay us by conferring this degree at a specially convened Convocation.

To join George Washington and Winston Churchill as the other recipients of such an award conferred at a specially convened Convocation, is not only a singular honour. It also holds great symbolic significance: to the mind and to the future memory of this great American institution, the name of an African is now added to those two illustrious leaders of the Western world. If in these latter years of a life lived in pursuit of equality, we can at last look upon our own country as one in which citizens, regardless of race, gender or creed, share equal political rights and opportunities for development, we do so with great gratitude towards the millions upon millions all around the world who materially and morally supported our struggle for freedom and justice. Together with those freedom- and justice-loving citizens of the world, we do at the same time, however, note that at the end of this century – a century which humanity entered with such high hopes for progress – the world is still beset by great disparities between the rich and the poor, both within countries and between different parts of the world.

If in individual life we all may reach that part of the long walk where the opportunity is granted to retire to some rest and tranquillity, for humanity the walk to freedom and equality seems, alas, still to be long one ahead. This august institution gains its standing and reputation also from the manner in which it has conducted, and continues to conduct, itself as an international presence. Wherever men and women of learning and thought gather, its name and work are known. It embodies that spirit of universality which marks great universities. To join the ranks of its alumni, is to be reminded of the oneness of our global world. The greatest single challenge facing our globalised world is to combat and eradicate its disparities. While in all parts of the world progress is being made in entrenching democratic forms of governance, we constantly need to remind ourselves that the freedoms which democracy brings will remain empty shells if they are not accompanied by real and tangible improvements in the material lives of the millions of ordinary citizens of those countries. Where men and women and children go burdened with hunger, suffering from preventable diseases, languishing in ignorance and illiteracy, or finding themselves bereft of decent shelter, talk of democracy and freedom that does not recognise these material aspects, can ring hollow and erode confidence exactly in those values we seek to promote. Hence our universal obligation towards the building of a world in which there shall be greater equality amongst nations and amongst citizens of nations. The disparity between the developed and developing world, between North and South, reflects itself also in the sphere of educational and intellectual resources. When in Africa we speak and dream of, and work for, a rebirth of that continent as a full participant in the affairs of the world in the next century, we are deeply conscious of how dependent that is on the mobilisation and strengthening of the continent’s resources of learning.
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