Mandela at 85: The children of the nation

Click to follow
The Independent Online

I come from a culture in which, traditionally, children are seen as both our present and our future, so I have always believed it is our responsibility as adults to give children futures worth having. I have often been shocked and angered to see how shamefully we have failed in this responsibility. Children are precious gifts, which adults everywhere have a duty to protect. Political leaders make promises about the protection of children, but the important thing is that they should fulfil those promises... Nelson Mandela, without any doubt, always means what he says. As President of South Africa, he certainly meant it when he said that the wellbeing of children was a national priority. Mandela was committed to caring for children, not merely by making promises, but by establishing programmes that weave children into the social fabric of a caring, responsible nation. In the work of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, as well as in other initiatives, we have been able to see the results of this tangible care.


Graça Machel is Mandela's wife and head of the Global Peace Initiative, which is part of the Global Movement for Children