For the past 12 years, the world has celebrated July 18th as Nelson Mandela International Day to honor the memory of a truly transformative leader and to shed light on the legacy of the first President of South Africa elected by its citizens of all races. Nelson Mandela fought apartheid, presided over a new, democratic constitution for all people of South Africa, and showed the world the power of leadership that put human dignity first – that promoted the rights of all rather than uplifting oneself want. Today, I join people around the world in commemorating and honoring Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary global legacy by renewing our commitment to rooting out systemic racism and advocating justice and equality for all people.
Mandela’s commitment to justice, peace and democracy enabled him to build bridges that spanned the artificial boundaries and divisions that are tearing people apart. Through dialogue, partnership and respect for the skills of each individual, he helped create a rainbow nation of all South Africans that could grow and prosper – but the work he began is never finished. I extend my condolences to the families of the victims of the recent violence in South Africa. South Africa’s efforts to overcome divisions are Nelson Mandela’s legacy, and in that spirit we reaffirm our unwavering support for justice, peaceful dialogue and respect for the rule of law.
On behalf of the people of the United States, we honor Nelson Mandela and his vision for Africa and a brighter world.