South Africa: Global giants salute Nelson Mandela

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday saluted world statesman Nelson Mandela whose birthday is commemorated around the world on 18 July.

The day is in its sixth year running since it was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009. The former president died in 2013 at the age of 95.

Ban who addressed thousands of delegates at the 21st International Aids conference, said Mandela dedicated a great deal of time to creating awareness and fighting the AIDS epidemic.

"This is what Nelson Mandela has worked really hard for during his lifetime and left a towering legacy. I'm very happy and honoured to observe International Mandela Day," he said, urging people around the world to be part of the Mandela movement.

“This is the best tribute to an extraordinary man who‚ with his steadfast belief in justice and human equality‚ showed how one person can make a difference. Let us all continue being inspired by Nelson Mandela's lifelong example and his call to never cease working to build a better world for all‚” Ban said.

On Sunday, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Mandela firmly believed that ordinary people could make the future better than the past.

Delivering the 14th annual Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture at the University of Pretoria, he said the Nobel Laureate also recognised the power of the youth. “I agree with Mandela about young people‚ and that is one reason I am optimistic about the future of this continent. Demographically‚ Africa is the world’s youngest continent‚ and its youth can be the source of a special dynamism,” he said.

Gates who has invested US$9 billion in various African initiatives through his foundation also addressed his personal relationship with Mandela.  

“As a boy I learned about him in school. The first time I got to speak to him was in 1994 when he called me to help fund South Africa’s (1994) election. I admired him so much and I knew the election was historic so I did what I could to help.”

He said a subsequent trip to Soweto had prompted the founding of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
-0- PANA CU/AR 18July2016

18 july 2016 17:33:05

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