Nelson Mandela Foundation's Sello Hatang handed Keys to the City of Florence

2019-02-17 16:28

Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive, Sello Hatang, has been handed the Keys to the City of Florence for his work and activism around youth empowerment in that City, as well as his work in keeping Mandela's legacy alive.

Hatang received the prestigious award from the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, on Saturday.

The award states, "To Sello Hatang, who carries out the challenging and luminous task of keeping Madiba's legacy alive. We share with him a long history of friendship and the ideal of an open society based on remembrance, solidarity, equality and respect for human rights."

Sello Hatang, Nelson Mandela Foundation, award, Fl 

 Sello Hatang's award from the City of Florence (Supplied)            

Hatang told News24 on Sunday that his relationship with the City goes back about ten years, and that the partnership had centered around youth empowerment programmes and promoting Mandela's legacy.

This included public speaking engagements and fundraising efforts for the foundation, which sees Hatang visit the City once or twice a year. Hatang said the City had also named a large sports arena after Mandela.

He said he was "still processing" the magnitude of the award, which has previously been awarded to the likes of Prince Charles, major actors and directors, singer Mika, sports stars and humanitarian workers.

Sello Hatang, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Florence,

Sello Hatang receiving his award from the mayor of the City of Florence (Supplied) 

Hatang, through his relationship with Nardella, has used his trips to Florence to leverage both funding and support for youth empowerment efforts, as well as to spread the message of Mandela's legacy, he said.

Hatang used the opportunity to call for greater acceptance of migrants coming into Europe, especially Italy.

"During my response, I said I hoped that the keys will continue to open doors between our continents, particularly for migrants going to Europe," he told News24, adding that he had told his audience to ask themselves why migrants leave their homes.

They did so because of poverty and war, and not knowing how their children were going to survive, he said.

"People should feel safe wherever they go, in South Africa, too. We must appreciate that people have always been on the move… we must build bridges, not walls," he said.

Read more on:    nelson mandela foundation  |  florence

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