Foundation: Please let Mandela rest

2010-11-11 15:35
Johannesburg - The Nelson Mandela Foundation has appealed to people worldwide to allow the former president to have a peaceful retirement as hundreds of requests for his time and signature continue to stream in.

Madiba received about 4 000 messages per month, many of them asking for his signature, a message of support, a public appearance or an interview, it said in a statement on Thursday.

There were also continued pleas for him to intervene in struggles around the world, and to endorse various causes.

"He no longer grants interviews nor does he respond to formal questions from the media, researchers or members of the public," the foundation said.

"Given the huge number of projects and causes he is asked to endorse and the impossibility of selecting a few among the many worthy requests, he no longer provides messages of support, written or audio visual.

"Because of the sheer volume of requests for his autographs, he no longer signs books, memorabilia (or) photographs."

Time for peace and tranquillity

The foundation appealed to the public not to send items for him to sign, as it could not guarantee the safe return of the material.

"The Nelson Mandela Foundation would like to ask people everywhere to help make Madiba's retirement a time of peace and tranquillity."

Mandela responded to these calls in 1999 by saying: "I don't want to reach 100 years whilst I am still trying to bring about a solution in some complicated international issue."

In 2004 he announced his intention to leave public life, and tasked three organisations, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, with carrying on his humanitarian work.

Four years later during his 90th birthday celebrations, he called on people to pick up the baton of his leadership, saying: "It's in your hands to make the world a better place."

Mandela Day, on the former president's birthday, was later implemented in the hope it would lead to a global movement of 67 minutes of community service.

"Thank you for your continued support and your warm wishes to Mr Mandela," the foundation said.

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