Live up to Mandela, Clinton urges

2012-08-08 14:32
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Hillary Clinton visits Mandela

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the "beautiful" smile of her friend and former president Nelson Mandela when they met at his Qunu home. See the pictures.

Cape Town - South Africa must live up to the legacy left by freedom icon Nelson Mandela by promoting human rights and democracy among its neighbours and around the world, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.

Clinton challenged students at the University of the Western Cape to look beyond their borders and export their country's ideals as espoused by Mandela.

Clinton visited the 94-year-old Mandela at his home on Monday.

"You, the young generation, are called not just to preserve the legacy of liberty that has been left to you by Madiba and by other courageous men and women," she said.

Clinton told how Mandela had named three, white former prison warders who had treated him with dignity as his most important guests at his inauguration lunch after he was sworn as South Africa's first democratic leader in 1994.

"When I walked out of prison, I knew I had a choice to make, I could have bitterness and the hatred of what had been done to me... and I would still be in prison. Or I could begin to reconcile the feelings inside myself with my fellow human beings," she quoted Mandela as telling his guests.

"That is the true legacy of president Mandela - calling all of us to complete the work he started. To overcome the obstacles, the injustices, the mistreatments that everyone, every one of us will encounter at some point in our lives.

"You are called to build on that legacy to ensure that your country fulfils its own promise and takes its place as a leader among nations and as a force for peace, opportunity, equality and democracy, and to stand up always for human rights at home and around the world," Clinton said.

She received a standing ovation from the polite crowd in the packed auditorium. Outside, though, a small group of leftist students protested her appearance, chanting and carrying signs reading "Hands Off Africa."

Earlier on Wednesday, Clinton presided over the signing of an agreement with South African health officials that will put them in the lead in administering the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief in the country.

The programme has spent $3.2bn on antiretroviral drugs, other treatments and HIV prevention programmes in South Africa since then-president George W Bush started it in 2004. The handover will be phased in over five years.

- AP

Read more on:    international relations  |  nelson mandela  |  hillary clinton  |  sa  |  us
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