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Topnews, South Africa, International relations

14. July 2014

Opening Speech by Mrs Lydia Greyling, Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of South Africa in Vienna at the exhibition "Mandela Poster Project"

Mr Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UNODC and Director of the UNOV


Ladies and gentlemen

During this week the people of South Africa and the world will once again unite in celebration of the most outstanding icon of our time; the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. This will be the first celebration after the sad passing away of this great man.

You will recall that, the 18th of July was declared, by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009, as the International Nelson Mandela Day. The celebration of Mandela Day recognises and honours our former President’s commitment to the objective of building a Democratic Society; that is united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous.

It also honours his contribution to the reconstruction and development of our country and to the equally important task of building a Better Africa in a Better World. During the entire month of July, South Africans and citizens of the world are encouraged to dedicate at least 67 minutes of their time to community work in celebration of the values and principles that Mr Mandela stood for.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my privilege to open this exhibition entitled “Nelson Mandela Poster Project.” The poster project started off as an initiative by two South African designers and produced more than 700 entries from around 70 countries across the world. The poster entries were then curated and a selection of 95 (representing Madiba’s 95 years) was first exhibited at the University of Pretoria in July 2013.

Madiba through his life carried across the concept of humanity and selflessness, which is conveyed through this project.

The independent team of volunteers, now known as the Mandela Poster Project Collective, gave freely of their time and expertise to make this exceptional project happen. Proceeds of this project contributed to the Nelson Mandela children’s hospital fund.

Everybody remembers and, indeed, needs an inspirational figure that has played a significant role in their lives. Nelson Mandela has been that role model for countless people around the world.

While he is no longer with us, his legacy will remain. This is a legacy that should inspire all of us. As we remember him, a cherished warrior of peace and justice, let us all vow to embody the principles for which he stood: equality, justice, fairness and peace for all.

Mandela was selfless, and he made us realise that living is not just about doing something for yourself, but what you do for others as well when he said,  “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.

Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy the exhibition.

And a reminder, you are all invited  - on Friday 18 July we will be showing the film “A Long Walk to Freedom”  in the UNIS cinema room at 12:30.

Thank you.


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