Yesterday, 5 December 2013, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, South African anti-apartheid activist and first black president of the nation, died at the age of 95. His courage, grace and forgiveness changed South Africa and rippled across the continent and the world.
In memory of the man known fondly as the father “Madiba” of South Africa, we look back to November 1994, six month after Mandela was inaugurated as president, when Mandela addressed the Chamber of Mines of South Africa.
The mining industry, by virtue of the place it occupies in our economy, is in a position to make a special contribution to the transformation of our society, which should have as its central objective, improving the quality of life of all its citizens.
We hope that the mining industry would also send a powerful message to everyone in our society that the resources of our nation, under whatever form of ownership, will be stewarded with a regard for the urgent need to uplift particularly the most disadvantaged of our society. This would be no empty gesture but an action which would have important and beneficial consequences for the nation.
Mandela’s call for the mining industry to steward resources for the benefit of “the most disadvantaged of our society” must not be forgotten.
Mandela’s full speech to the 104th Annual General Meeting of the Chamber of Mines is available on the African National Congress’s website.