Nelson Mandela Foundation

We asked attendees to the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture: In the centenary year of Nelson Mandela's birth, what do you think his legacy is? This is what they had to say.

Boitumelo Diale

“We’re here because we were chosen based on how we work [and] our dedication and putting yourself out there. Always making sure that when you work, you do your best. Which is something that resembles what this event is about because when you think about it, Nelson Mandela was a man with hard work, dedication and all of that. Which is why I think they chose us to be ushers and to be here for me is a great experience. I get to see all these historic moments with my eyes and surely this will be good for each one of us.”

Meriam Tawii

“[Mandela’s legacy] means and represents people coming together and this one leader had such a huge impact to bring everybody together and unite them. It’s a great honour to be part of such an amazing event. As a young person, I look up to Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, being such a great American president. It’s an amazing event.”

Kamogelo Monnathebe

“Mandela did such an amazing job when he was still alive. All these leaders coming together to celebrate Nelson Mandela, I feel like that’s just so special. And being here is such an amazing experience.”

Nthato Mashishi

“I want to hear how people and as global citizens, how we can come together and talk about things that concern us. That cold be social, economic or even the abuse that is going on, that we see all the time around children and women. And it could be around the economy because we’re going through a hard time right now, and that is it again with the schooling issues because everybody wants to go to school. No one wants to sit at home and look at other people doing it.

“Yes, we’re a Third World country but I want to hear what will inspire us, that will just say, ‘You’re part of the global arena, come and play with us.’ And I want to hear, especially the elders, what they have to say. Because they’ve got wisdom that they have to impart on us as young people. When I look at the elders, I want to hear from the elders and hear how they did it, and how can we go forward.”

Cathy Mphirima

“There are things we can learn from our counterparts, like America and the UK and everybody. So that’s what I’m looking forward to. That with us celebrating 100 years, what can we do better to make South Africa go forward because that’s what Nelson Mandela actually wanted. For us to go forward and to make things better for more South Africans.”

Odwa Ramabulana

“I look forward to seeing President Barack Obama in person and then just hearing his thoughts on Africa, transformation and just his feelings on former President Mandela’s legacy and how we can carry it forward, and how we can keep his memory alive through being better citizens. Citizens of Africa, and citizens of the world.”

Sandile Ntanzi, from KwaZulu-Natal

“I’m so excited about this event. For me, personally, it’s a dream come true to be here with the leaders and witness this day. It happens once in a lifetime. So, I’m so excited.”