Address by Nelson Mandela to recipients of the Nelson Mandela Scholarship

October 2002

The Mandela Alumni
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Each year it gives me great pleasure to meet with the Nelson Mandela scholars, young South Africans who are committed to developing their country, to making it more competitive on a global scale.

These talented, bright young minds are the future leaders of this country.

To be sure I wish that we could have been sent to study in the UK to earn a degree and develop our leadership skills instead of graduating from that infamous university on the Island.

Though I would have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have studied abroad instead of on the Island, we have also learnt many important lessons from that university. One of the most important of these is that it is the collective, not the individual that can deliver the most I terms of leadership impact.

Through companies like Unilever and Deloitte Consulting, who must be congratulated for their commitment and their vision in making this scholarship possible, our future leaders can enjoy a wonderful opportunity that was not available to those from their communities before.

I would like to thank Unilever and Deloitte Consulting for their commitment to South Africa and their investment in the future of our country. Through the Nelson Mandela Scholarship, they are building leadership, building capacity for our country.

And I would like to use this opportunity to challenge other large corporates gathered here today to join in our struggle for a better South Africa for everyone. For our past has taught us that we can do so much more if we work together.

South Africa is a country bursting with untapped potential and great possibility. We are a nation that regularly performs miracles and we have been doing so from the day of our peaceful transformation to democracy when the world thought that we could not do it. But like every other country, we also have our share of problems. And we all know those problems intimately, because we are confronted with them in our daily lives.

In business and in politics, we recognise the critical importance of powerful, visionary leadership.

And it is through initiatives like these that we can be sure that poverty and all of our other problems will not be the only legacy we leave to future generations.

The challenge that lies ahead for business, for government and the NGO sector and the for Nelson Mandela scholars is to take a lesson from the university on Robben Island and to work together collectively to build South Africa into a truly great nation.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation