Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Former Republic of South Africa President Nelson Mandela Receives R-3 Million For Foundation

Mandela receives R3-million donation

Mirah Langer
Johannesburg, South Africa
18 June 2008 04:21

A beaming Nelson Mandela received a R3-million donation for his sustainability fund in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"The real fulfilment and purpose of this world is when we touch other people," said businessman Patrice Motsepe, who is chairperson of the Sanlam Ubuntu-Botho Community Development Trust that made the donation.

Motsepe said the donation recognised "someone who has touched so many people in so many ways. It is very important that we keep Mandela's memory alive."

Earlier, police escorts and car convoys transported various members of royal families, including King Goodwill Zwelithini, two of Mandela's daughters and top business people, to the Nelson Mandela Foundation building in Houghton for the donation ceremony.

They were greeted by a harpist playing South African classics such as Weeping and an exhibit on the life of Walter and Albertina Sisulu.

Inside the presentation room, various people tested out the comfort of the chair Mandela was to sit on, including his assistant, Zelda le Grange.

At the presentation ceremony, a very cheerful gold-shirted Mandela arrived walking with the help of a cane.

He greeted various guests, even enquiring after the health of those he found absent and wishing them well.

The smile did not leave Mandela's face for the rest of the ceremony as he listened to the speakers, sometimes nodding in agreement, making quips and surveying the group attending the ceremony.

Sanlam group chief executive Johan van Zyl wished Mandela a happy forthcoming birthday from one "not nearly as famous" 90-year-old to another. Mandela was born in 1918 and Sanlam was founded in the same year.

Ubuntu-Botho is the black empowerment partner of Sanlam.

Van Zyl said the company had originally been started to help impoverished Afrikaners and was now committed to transformation.

Motsepe later said the drive of Sanlam to help the poorest of the poor had to be channelled to those who needed it now.

"Sanlam was formed to help poor Afrikaners and it was a proud ... history. Now the challenge is [to help] the poor black South Africans," he said.

"Let us learn from that experience ... to help all our people,"

Motsepe said it was good that he was getting involved in an Afrikaans organisation like Sanlam.

"We can't deal with the challenges in the country ... on our own.

You need [companies that are] Afrikaans, English-speaking, of a Jewish background. [Through this] we can touch the lives of people."

Motsepe said Mandela was an inspiration to all: "We do not have a future, all of us, unless that spirit and commitment you [Mandela] embody [continues]."

He said every time Mandela asked for money it was not for himself.

"The Mandela family has been not for Mandela. They are for others."

Sanlam group market development chief executive Temba Mvusi said chief executives used to shiver whenever their companies did well because they knew Mandela read business papers.

"Mandela would be on the phone congratulating the chief executive and then two schools would have to be built."

Handing over the cheque with Van Zyl, billionaire Motsepe reassured Mandela: "The bank will pay it, I can assure you. It will not bounce."

Mandela was also given a birthday present by Sanlam: a painting by an 11-year-old-girl of two children in a Namaqualand meadow.

Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive Achmat Danger said the donation money would go to the development of a centre for memory and dialogue that would chart the life and times of Mandela.

Dangor said the centre would be opening in about a year.

"[We want] to ensure Mandela's ideals and values ... live well into the future"

After receiving the donation, Mandela exited the presentation room -- but not before a guest burst into a stream of exuberant praise in Xhosa, jumping from his seat to address Mandela directly. -- Sapa

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