Home South African News #MandelaLecture: Mandela, Obama symbols of victory over adversity – Graça

#MandelaLecture: Mandela, Obama symbols of victory over adversity – Graça

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Graça Machel described her husband Nelson Mandela as a simple, grounded and humble man.

Former US President Barack Obama greets Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel as he arrives to deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture in Johannesburg. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg – Graça Machel has described her husband Nelson Mandela and former US president Barack Obama as symbols of victory over adversity. 

Machel, the widow of the former statesman Nelson Mandela, was speaking at the 16th annual Nelson Mandela lecture, set to be delivered by Obama under the theme: “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World” in the Wanderers Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Machel, much like previous speakers, shared fond memories of her late husband who she hailed as a humble, grounded man. 

“The Mandela I knew was a simple, grounded and humble man. He considered himself as a simple foot soldier,” she said.

Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel addresses crowds gathered to hear former US President Barack Obama delivering the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture in Johannesburg. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

She went on to add that Mandela did not consider himself a saint and recognised the limitations of the achievements of his generation. Saluting the legacy institutions that Mandela established such as the Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, she said all “these mandates carry his blessings”.

Machel went on to draw parallels between Mandela and Obama, saying they both stood on the shoulder of giants and were symbols of victory over adversity.  

The lecture has drawn dignitaries from all over the world including Sir Richard Branson and Princess Charlene of Monaco as well as thousands of ordinary citizens.

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