May 13, 2008 - Nelson Mandela received the Freedom of the City of Tshwane from Executive Mayor Gwen Ramakgopa this morning at Mandela House in Johannesburg.
Footage of the ceremony was beamed live to a public event at Church Square in Tshwane and to the Tshwane City Hall.
Upon receiving the award, Mr Mandela made the following speech.
All Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
We welcome you to our offices, and thank you for accommodating the needs of an old man by coming here rather than us doing the proper thing of going to you.
We apologise for our ungraciousness and thank you for your extreme graciousness.
We decided some years ago to respect the progress of our democracy by no longer accepting honours like these. The baton of leadership had been passed on and we wish that honours would celebrate those that have taken over so excellently from our generation.
We acceded to this temptation of being honoured because in this 90th year the planet has been cursed with our presence, we thought that we should show some gratitude.
We shall from here on certainly not do this again. But in our 90th year an award like this from our administrative capital is an exception, which we accept warmly and with humility.
We accept this honour from the administrative capital of our nation with this one simple request to the nation and the leaders of our nation:
Remember the horror from which we come; never forget the greatness of a nation that could overcome its divisions and bring itself to where it is; and let us never again descend into destructive divisiveness no matter what the considerations are.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.