Things were not easy for him – but he did not give up because he believed he could make change that would make people’s lives better. As he was growing up he worked and studied hard because he believed that education is a powerful weapon with which to change the world.
When he was older his work took him away from his family for 27 years. In this time away from his family he learned that he could be the Father of something much bigger – and he became much much more. He became the Father of our Nation, South Africa and indeed to many countries of the world. Through his work he inspired many and encouraged all to rise above difficulty, to work hard and to respect each other and work together.
His name –Tata Nelson Mandela – who was South Africa’s first black president and a leader that the world respected and was inspired by. He loved children very much and he worked hard to help South Africa’s children. He started the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and when he was president he gave half his salary to help poor children. He not only wanted all children to feel loved and he wanted to give them a better future.
One group of people who were inspired by Nelson Mandela and want to keep his spirit and teachings alive is the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day. This year many many people all over the world have been knitting blankets and today, because we have seen the spirit of Mandela so present at this school we bring blankets for each and every one of you.
Not all schools get these blankets – so know that it is your hard work and what we see here that resulted in the blankets coming to you. It is also important to say that because of hard work that The Siyazisiza Trust (who introduced me to this school) are helping you to build vegetable gardens so that the community can benefit.
When things get tough – know that you are not alone, know that much love sits in the blanket and the blanket will bring warmth and comfort. I know Madiba is watching over all of us and is very proud of the work that you do
Nelson Mandela was a very powerful leader who inspired greatness and courage in many. I know that what has been achieved in this exceptional school would not have been possible without strong leaders. Leaders who did more that they were called to do, who found ways to make ends meet and to take care of all of you young people.
These people are the teachers and staff and I now wish to call each of you to come and accept a blanket to celebrate this, to encourage you and to support you. Know that the hearts of the people who made these blankets are here with you all.
You do such important work for our nation as was highlighted by Nelson Mandela when he said :
“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people” Address at the dedication of the Qunu and Nkalade schools, Qunu 3 June 1995
“Together as a nation, we have the obligation to put sunshine into the hearts of our little ones. They are our precious possessions. They deserve what happiness life can offer.”
July 4, 1997
Today all those who are part of the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day have put sunshine into the hearts of all you very special children and hope they bring you lots of happiness.
NOTE : The weather was slightly overcast but as these words were read the sun came out and shone on the children…