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South Africa
Media | Society

Mandela shares wisdom with journalists

afrol News, 5 June - Nelson Mandela, the former South African President has shared wisdom with editors and publishers in Cape Town.

At least 1,600 editors and publishers this week started participating in the congress of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) in South Africa. South Africa is the first African country to host the auspicious event.

For health reasons, Mandela could not attend the event, but his messages have been communicated to delegates through video.

"I am disappointed that I could not be with you in person as planned because, as all the South Africans among you will know, I like talking to newspaper people," the former legendary leader and freedom fighter said, adding that he liked to engage editors in 'robust exchanges' when he was a president.

"We are trying to build a proud and prosperous nation here, one that believes in expanding the frontiers of freedom for every human being on this planet. We also believe in press freedom in this country and have the constitution to prove it," he says.

Mandela urges delegates to characterise their deliberations with great wisdom, especially at a time when people live in a global era of most serious challenges. In that, he says, journalists wield tremendous power to influence matters for good or for ill. "in my experience, you are capable of both. Please concentrate on the former."

While wishing delegates fruitful discussions, the 88-year-old Mandela exhorts journalists to continue their fight for justice for all. "My friends, let your watchwords be: truth and freedom."

"This old pensioner must also tell you that he is still a newspaperman himself. Not a day goes by when I don't read every newspaper I can lay my hands on, wherever I am."

"Sometimes my staff will try to hide a paper from me if they think there is something in it that will upset me. But as I have always said, newspapers allow us to hold a mirror up to ourselves, and we must be brave enough to look squarely at the reflection."

In another development, Ford Freedom conferred its Special Humanitarian Awards on Mandela in recognition of his immeasurable contributions to the global community.

By Musa Saidykhan, reporting from Cape Town

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