17.07.2014 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Honoring the memory of Nelson Mandela

“Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom,” Nelson Mandela – a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador - famously mused.

His call has special meaning, as we approach Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July), celebrated for the first time in 2010. The best way to honour his memory is to be “that great generation”, by ensuring that his values are reflected in today’s societies.

Mandela’s life is an education to us all. His triumph over apartheid changed history, and is part of humanity’s shared heritage. Arrested for anti-apartheid activism in 1962, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment following the Rivonia Trial.

“This was a turning point in the fight for freedom against the apartheid system in South Africa and a defining moment in the global struggle for human rights and dignity,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

The records of the Trial and the Liberation Struggle Living Archive, including his defiant dock speech, are included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, dedicated to humanity’s documentary heritage.

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