Sports fans and South African sporting legends graced the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory auditorium yesterday at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Sport & Culture Day 2013.

The launch is another milestone initiative in celebration of Mandela Day.

The event saw the Ministries of Sport and Arts and Culture, and the rugby and soccer communities, working together for a national day to grow and support Nelson Mandela's legacy.

Centre of Memory CEO Sello Hatang welcomed Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, one of the Centre’s trustees, as well as Mr Mandela’s wife Graça Machel and his grandson Zondwa Mandela.

Hatang announced that Dr Mo Ibrahim would deliver the 11th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 17 August.

“Dr Ibrahim’s message of social cohesion will be broadcast to rugby and soccer fans as they enjoy Nelson Mandela Sport & Culture Day, which includes international soccer matches, rugby matches and a concert,” he said.

Mrs Machel thanked the public and the media for their ongoing demonstrations of love, support and hope. “This outpouring of love is taken into our hearts every single day. We thank you deeply,” she said.

“The best gift Madiba has given to this nation is one of unity. At the beginning he offered South Africa the gift of reconciliation and encouraged us all to rally around the dream of a country that belongs to all who live in it. Today, as he lies in hospital, he offers us another opportunity to unite under the banner of our flag and our Constitution, as we equally feel our love for him and for our South Africa,” she said.

Mrs Machel reiterated the importance of caring for the children in our society and how Madiba is attached to making his vision of a children’s hospital a reality.

The captain of the Springbok rugby team of 1995, Francois Pienaar, recalled Mr Mandela’s support of his team in the Rugby World Cup Final in 1995.

He thanked Madiba for his vision, his humility and for his leadership in embracing sport as a game-changer in South Africa’s young democracy.

To honour the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela visit to pledge your support and make your ‘Mandela moment’ part of history.


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