Address by Nelson Mandela on receiving Honorary Degree from University of Ghana, Johannesburg

24 April 2002 Mister Chancellor
Mister Vice-Chancellor
Mister Registrar
Your Excellency the High Commissioner

What a great honour to be visited in one's own office by such luminaries as the most senior office-bearers of such a great institution as the University of Ghana; and to be honoured by them with the award of a degree.

This after all is the National University of a country that holds a very special place amongst the nations of our continent.

When we think of Ghana, we think of freedom for Africans, African self-determination, pride and dignity of African people. We think of Kwame Nkrumah and his deep love for the people and the continent of Africa; and his passionate believe that we are one people despite national and geographic borders that separate and seek to divide us.

It is in that spirit that I humbly welcome you to my place today; and thank you for having reached out in that spirit to me.

The university played a pivotal role over the years in nurturing the Ghanaian national spirit and great respect for its own and continental culture. Education had always been highly respected in the national life of Ghana, and I am proud to be associated with this great institution.

I am also aware that the head offices of the Association of African Universities are situated in Accra. That gives further evidence of the esteem in which Ghana and its universities are held by the rest of their colleagues on the Continent.

I cannot omit to convey to you, the members of the university as well as you, High Commissioner, how dearly we value the example of democratic governance set by your country during its last Presidential elections. The smooth, peaceful and graceful transition from one President to another could only have served to inspire the rest of the continent. And I expressed these sentiments to both the outgoing and incoming Presidents.

Thank you once more for travelling so far to honour an old man, retired and without office or power. I shall try to be a worthy alumnus of your great institution.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation