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May 15, 2010

Nelson Mandela: ‘The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will inspire and unite’

nelson mandela cape town

Nelson Mandela. Photo courtesy United Nations Photo

The transcript of a speech by Nelson Mandela, which was read out at the FIFA World Cup™ Final Draw in Cape Town, has been released by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Mr Mandela, who turns 92 on June 18, exactly one week after the FIFA World Cup™ final, is known as one of the most inspirational people in history. After spending 27 years imprisoned on Robben Island, he became the president of South Africa and united the nation against all expectations.

His role in inspiring the Springboks to victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, was recently depicted in the film Invictus, staring Morgan Freeman as Mr Mandela and Matt Damon as Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar.

Below is a copy of Mr. Mandela’s speech, courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“Sport has the power to inspire and unite people. In Africa soccer enjoys great popularity and has a particular place in the hearts of people. This is why it is so important that the FIFA World Cup will, for the first time ever, be hosted on the African continent in 2010. We feel privileged and humbled that South Africa has been given the singular honour of being the African host country.

“We must strive for excellence in our hosting of the World Cup while at the same time ensuring that the event leaves a lasting benefit to all our people.

“The people of Africa learned the lessons of patience and endurance in their long struggles for freedom.

“May the rewards brought by the FIFA World Cup prove that the long wait for its arrival on African soil has been worth it.

“Ke Nako. It’s time.

“I thank you.”

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