Mr. Nelson Mandela's Message for Youth

Every occasion we dedicate to the concerns and the future of children can only help to make us a better nation and a more caring people. There can never be too many of these occasions and events.

In fact, I always say that every day of our lives should be devoted to them for they are our sole future. In every day of our lives we should find some time and space for consciously thinking about and doing something for a better life for a child and for children generally.

One way that we can build a better future for children is by empowering them through allowing them to speak up for themselves. Of course, we as adults have to guide them and to take ultimate responsibility but that is something quite different than patronizing them. The Rights of Children must, importantly, include the right to be themselves and to talk for themselves.

Let us, as an old teacher’s organization in the Cape used to say, live for our children. Let us put their rights paramount in our considerations of building a better society and a better life for all. For they are our future, our only future.

- Nelson Mandela, Speech on Children, November 2003.

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