- 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.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.