Message by Nelson Mandela at NMCF Annual Children's Celebration

9 July 2008

Honourable Members from our National and SADC Region Youth Parliament
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Former President Joachim Chisano
French Secretary of State Mrs Rama Yade
Ambassador Denis Pieton and Mrs Marla Pieton
Premier of Limpopo Mr Sello Moloto
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana
Bishop Paul Verryn
Dr Thoko Chitepo
Donor Partners
Trustees of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
Members of the Media
Distinguished guests, Young and Old

THIS Annual Children’s Celebration is a special day on the calendar of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

It is special because it is an annual reminder to us all that the needs and wellbeing must be on top of all agendas. Without children and I see a lot of them here today - what would be the reason for us to come together?

Let us remind ourselves that it is ordinary people - men and women, boys and girls, that make the world a special place.

In the true tradition of the Children’s Fund, this event is simply the sincere desire to make society more familiar with the smiles of children rather than their tears. This is the driving force behind the vision of the Fund -To change the way society treats its children and youth.

IF this were true in our society, our youth would be happier, our families stronger, our communities safer and our government reasonably at peace with its citizens.

Would this be too much to ask for in this my 90th year?

I am particularly humbled and proud that the Children’s Fund has reached the success it is today.

The children have equally seen it fit to grace me with the title of being the Children’s Champion.

The display of leadership by our youth today gives me a comfort that not all is lost. To the youth of today I also have a wish to make:

Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as the stars that show the way towards a brighter future - for our country, our continent and the world.

Thank you for all the good wishes.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation