Address by Nelson Mandela at 46664 Concert, Tromso, Norway

11 June 2005

This has indeed been a long journey from Johannesburg in South Africa to Tromso in Norway. But we are pleased to be here. Tonight, the people of Tromso can stand tall and proud. In hosting this concert you have signaled to the world that you care.

Today we live in a world that remains divided. A world in which we have made great progress and advances in science and technology. But it is also a world where millions of children die because they have no access to medicines. We live in a world where knowledge and information have made enormous strides, yet millions of children are not in school. We live in a world where the Aids pandemic threatens the very fabric of our lives. Yet we spend more money on weapons than on ensuring treatment and support for the millions infected by HIV. It is a world of great promise and hope. It is a world of despair, disease and hunger.

In less than three weeks time, the leaders of the G8 nations will meet in Scotland. They will face perhaps the most critical question that our world has had to face – how do we remove the face of poverty from our world. So much of our common future will depend on the actions and plans of these leaders. They have an historical opportunity to open the door to hope and the possibility of a better future for all. History and the generations to come will judge our leaders by the decisions they make in the coming weeks. We urge them to save the lives of our children – let every child be a healthy child. We have this within our grasp. We know what to do and what it will cost. We now need leadership, vision and political courage.

Tonight in joining you in Tromso, we have brought Africa to you. Even though there is a great distance between our lands, we know that we share a common humanity. This week the people of Tromso have demonstrated this common humanity. You have recognized that the challenges we face as a result of the Aids pandemic affects us all. In sharing this burden with us in Africa, you bring us hope and a future of possibilities. While we unite in this common humanity, we also know that much more needs to be done. The inequalities that divide us continue to imprison and deny life’s possibilities to millions impacted by this pandemic. We urge you to add your voice to the groundswell that is surely gathering around the world. The more we lack the courage and the will to act, the more we condemn to death our brothers and sisters, our children and our grandchildren. When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing.

We want to thank the people of Tromso for the courage to recognize our common humanity and all that it entails. In recognition of this leadership we have made Tromso the first ambassador city for 46664.

Many years ago, I said that my long walk has not yet ended. As we stand here tonight, I gain great comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone on this journey. In taking on this challenge you have become part of us and so you are now all Africans.

Goodnight and thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation