Address by Nelson Mandela at dinner held in honour of Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel hosted by Shared Interest, New York - United States

6 May 2002

It is gratifying to see the faces here of people who have been working in so many different ways - in some cases for decades - to support South Africa’s struggle for democracy. After the attainment of our democracy it translated into support for equitable development and a better life for all our people, especially the poor and marginalised.

We see tonight friends from the anti-apartheid movement; from the professional, philanthropic and faith communities; some of the country’s largest corporations; and some of its most effective non-governmental organizations.

We particularly appreciate the efforts of "Shared Interest", whose work since 1994 has helped us consolidate our achievement of political democracy through socio-economic development that makes a difference in the life of ordinary people. Your contribution towards making available credit, creating jobs, encouraging small businesses, and providing affordable homes and viable communities for economically disadvantaged South Africans will be particularly remembered.

Your unflagging partnership -- as necessary now as it was in 1994 -- has helped us develop new strategies and tools to give substance and shape to the vision and energies of our people. We look forward to continuing that work, which is based on a shared interest.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is the main vehicle through which we seek to make our contribution to creating a better life for our people. It would be tempting to sit back in retirement, but we all have a responsibility to contribute the little we are able to. The Foundation provides the infrastructure for us to continue some of the work we have been involved in ever since our release from prison.

The three main areas in which the Foundation operates are education, health, and peace and reconciliation.

We appreciate your support tonight, and will be counting on the continuing collaboration of the friends and colleagues who have accompanied us on our march to democracy. We have a long road to march together to build a world where all can lead lives of dignity. The fight against poverty and all its attendant ills still lays ahead of us.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation