The importance of youth

August 8, 2018

The 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, was delivered by former US President Barack Obama in Johannesburg on 17 July, 2018. The lecture took place a day before Nelson Mandela International Day, and was held at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. About 15 000 people attended.

 “…..And that’s what we need right now, we don’t just need one leader, we don’t just need one inspiration, what we badly need right now is that collective spirit. And, I know that those young people, those hope carriers are gathering around the world.

 Because history shows that whenever progress is threatened, and the things we care about most are in question, we should heed the words of Robert Kennedy – spoken here in South Africa, he said, “Our answer is the world’s hope: it is to rely on youth. It’s to rely on the spirit of the young.”

 So, young people, who are in the audience, who are listening, my message to you is simple, keep believing, keep marching, keep building, keep raising your voice. Every generation has the opportunity to remake the world.

 Mandela said, “Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.” Now is a good time to be aroused. Now is a good time to be fired up.

And, for those of us who care about the legacy that we honour here today – about equality and dignity and democracy and solidarity and kindness, those of us who remain young at heart, if not in body – we have an obligation to help our youth succeed……..”

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