Nelson Mandela Foundation

23 July, 2011 – The Ninth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture took place at the Linder Auditorium at the Johannesburg College of Education today. The speaker for this year’s lecture was Professor Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria.

This is what some of the guests had to say after the lecture:

“If you look at the two points cohesion and social justice, those were the ones relevant to South Africa and Egypt. We chose Ismail not because he’s an Egyptian, he was chosen nine months before Egypt’s burning. Had what happened in Egypt not happened, he wouldn’t have said some of those things in there. But what struck me the most was how the audience applauded the loudest at the part where he mentioned the youth. If I went on stage after him I would have asked the audience why. But I think it’s because we regard the youth as children. Nelson Mandela, Ismail and myself were all youth at one stage and we had our own revolution. The Malemas of today, not Malema the man, will have their revolution as well in whatever form it comes. We must stop looking at our youth as crackheads. That’s where cohesion and social justice play the most important part.” – Tokyo Sexwale, trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and minister of human settlements in South Africa

“The speech was brilliant, very inspirational, and I think very pertinent for us as South Africans at the moment, with lots of restlessness in the country. Lots of food for thought.” – Nikiwe Bikitsha, broadcaster

“I’m overwhelmed, it was brilliant. [Prof Serageldin] spoke about and admired young people and he also spoke about, admired and referenced people from many years ago. I found it very intellectual and I can’t wait to get hold of a copy so that I can give it to my children to read.” – Adrian Arnott

“It was very relevant. I found what Prof Serageldin had to say about North Africa was very interesting. He also had a lot of important things to say about justice and equality and all of our involvement in this, day to day.” – Spongy Moodley

“It was very inspirational. He reflected on things happening all over the world. The speech had a sense of reality and a sense of possibility. It was about how change will happen and time will bring change.” – Ayanda Mvimbi, Gender Advisor and Programme Manager at Irish Aid

“It was very interesting – the notion that we need to include the excluded. He spoke about the youth and how they are the ones that will bring about change. This worried me – the behaviour of our youth in this country worries me. They are meant to bring change but they go through so much, with drugs and AIDS – it is very worrying.” – Zelma Mokobane, part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria

“The lecture was a call for us to take a stand. What stuck with me was what [Prof Serageldin] had to say about social cohesion. We all have to take it upon ourselves to lay the foundation and create the future. And it’s got to be the young people.” – Christo Morolong

“I am so inspired as an African child in this time.” – Basetsana Khumalo, businesswoman

“I’m inspired. It was an awesome lecture. I loved the part about the youth and technology and getting rid of social injustice.” – Miliswa Sitshwele

“I feel that it challenged me. The youth, our time is coming.” – Buyani Zwane, CEO of Franklin Covey Southern Africa

“Challenging to the youth and challenging to the adults.” – Pascal Macumbi

“The message of participation was very important.” – Ingrid Pearl

“Extremely inspiring and insightful!” – Ndumi Hadebe

“Inspirational. It was current and progressive and it spoke to the youth.” – Lerato Mathenjwa, TEACH SA staff member

“My favourite part of the speech was when he said that, “Inequity is corrosive. If we fought so much more for equity more so than equality we would be a better society.” – Shirish Soni, Head:Risk management at SARS

“Today’s message was spot on. His focus on the youth in South Africa and in Egypt was done brilliantly.” – Kate Turkington, broadcaster

“This 9th [lecture] was given by a remarkable scholar. He is a polymath, with many different strings to his bow. The ability to weave the [idea] into a single whole was impressive.” – Professor Phillip Tobias, palaeoanthropolgist

“It was absolutely amazing, absolutely amazing. They couldn’t have chosen a better speaker.” – Dorina Bowes

“Wonderful, I don’t have any wise words. It was inspiring.”  – Phil McDermot

“I’ve been to every single lecture as a 46664 ambassador and I must say it gets better by the year. The elevation of the youth for me was the best part, since that’s our future.” – Yvonne Chaka Chaka, singer and 46664 ambassador

“It’s not often that we get the opportunity to listen to a speaker who speaks on a variety of subjects from constitutional rights, to political rights and social media with such experience. There were lawyers sitting next to me such as former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and I could see that he was listening with such intensity when he was dealing with issues such as equality and social justice.” – Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza

“The lecture was really outstanding. He spoke to where we are at right now and the rich beauty that comes out of learning to coexist.” – Nana Ntsebeza, CEO Film and Publications Board

“I’m also a librarian and so the lecture really resonated with me. He really brought across the importance of being information knowledge workers.” – Viwe Mzila

“I found the lecture informative and touching. As a young person I feel that it is time for us to stand together.” – Magi Noninzi Williams, South African playwright and actress

Ismail Serageldin

Prof Ismail Serageldin addresses the audience


Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor


Ahmed Kathrada, anti-apartheid struggle veteran


Palaeoanthropologist Professor Phillip Tobias (centre), with Nelson Mandela Foundation Trustee Chris Liebenberg (left) and businessman Murphy Morobe (right)


From left: Professor Phillip Tobias, Murphy Morobe, human rights lawyer George Bizos and businessman Jeremy Ractliffe