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Nelson Mandela remembered for his contribution to human security
6 December 2013

Addis Ababa/Dakar/Nairobi/Pretoria – Friday 6 December 2013 – The Institute for Security Studies joins fellow Africans and people across the world in celebrating the life of former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Madiba inspired South Africa, Africa and the world with his vision of a democratic society free of racism and prejudice. He encouraged tolerance and forgiveness and helped us to imagine a future where the most vulnerable and marginalised people would be free from fear and want. The ISS shares this vision of ‘human security’ in which every person has equal and meaningful rights and no one is above the law. The promise of a just society in which human rights are safeguarded has inspired the ISS over the past twenty-two years since Madiba’s release from prison in 1990.

Nelson Mandela transcended South Africa and Africa. He was, eventually, a moral compass for the world – an international figure whose legacy will continue to provide inspiration for generations to come.

Madiba’s legacy includes the establishment of a constitutional democracy in South Africa, and the replication of these values and ideals across Africa. He will be remembered as an ardent protagonist of pan-Africanism who went out of his way to help solve some of Africa’s most devastating conflicts. Fifty years after the formation of the African Union and the Organisation of African Unity before it, Madiba’s belief in a politically and economically independent continent remains a priority for African leaders today.

Looking back, the ISS recalls several developments that characterise Madiba’s contribution to human security, good governance and the rule of law.

South Africa’s first democratically elected government, with Madiba as its first post-apartheid president, invested substantial effort in transforming an apartheid military at war with the majority of South Africa’s people and the region, into a national defence force under civilian control. The challenge of reforming the country’s brutal apartheid police force into a professional community-orientated police service was met with a similar resolve. Human rights were emphasised and police were expected to respect the dignity of communities they served. It was during this time that a dedicated anti-corruption unit was established to tackle the problem of police corruption.

Madiba recognised the importance of an independent judiciary able to hold to account even the most politically powerful person in the country. In 1998, in an unprecedented move for a President, he submitted himself to the courts when summoned to defend his decision to set up a commission to investigate alleged racism, corruption and nepotism in South African rugby. This demonstrated his respect for the administration of justice and his commitment to the principle of the rule of law in which all citizens are deemed equal.

Madiba’s ambitions for a society characterised by justice, dignity and human rights for all remain unfulfilled. His legacy to Africa and indeed humanity in general is the courage, leadership and tenacity he showed and the vision he has left behind.

We shall honour his memory by striving to ensure that his vision is realised, both in South Africa and across our continent.

Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, President of the ISS Advisory Council
Dr Jakkie Cilliers, Executive Director, Institute for Security Studies


Media inquiries:

Antoinette Louw
Interim Communication Head
Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria
Tel: +27 12 346 9500
Cell: +27 82 883 5012

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