Ndaba Thembekile Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, met with young people in Binbirdirek Cistern in the event organized by the Directorate of Communications as part of the “Names That Inspire the Youth” project.
Speaking at the event organized by the Directorate of Communications at the Binbirdirek Cistern within the scope of the “Names That Inspire the Youth” project, Thembekile Mandela said that his grandfather remained in prison for years because of his understanding where differences are seen as wealth in the world.
Stating that Nelson Mandela struggled against the apartheid regime until his last breath, Thembekile Mandela said, “This regime destroyed our country for years and separated us. I was born before the regime collapsed. The regime was really brutal. They separated a child from his family, who was born to black and white parents and raised them in a private location. They were categorized as black, white, coloured and those that came from India. Among them, being black was the worst.”
Explaining that he saw his grandfather in prison and that he also “dreamt of prison”, Mandela said, “I wanted to go to prison while other children wanted to be a police, doctor or astronaut.”
Reminding that a new period started for his country after Nelson Mandela was released from prison, Mandela emphasized that his grandfather’s years-long struggle was an inspiration to the whole nation and Africa.
Stating that most of the people do not know much about Africa and that prejudices still prevail in many regions Mandela advised the following to the young participants:
“Follow your dreams, never give up. Dream big. If you are not afraid of your dreams, it means that you do not have strong dreams. Motivate yourself by saying ‘I am a leader, I am a leader’ and believe it. Do not give up on your dreams and make the world beautiful.”
“We can build relationships between South Africa and Turkey that would develop both sides.”
Mandela noted that Turkey stands at a point where it could develop relationships with South Africa and the whole of Africa in general.
Pointing out that Turkey has potential and talent, Mandela said, “They are skilled in the trade and have good trade relations with South Africa. We can build relationships between South Africa and Turkey that would develop both sides. We launched the Leaders Programme in 2018. This program was about how to become a leader through Mandela’s principles and style. Young people can come to South Africa with this program and move forward following his path.”
Highlighting that peaceful means must be sought for the resolution of problems between the countries and communities, Mandela proceeded as follows:
“You must seek ways to defeat your enemy and their opinions. In time, your enemy may become a partner or a friend. Do not focus on differences, instead, try to find common ground. People tend to have more common aspects than differences. There’s a one in a thousand per cent biological difference between white and black people but in reality, this does not matter in the slightest. It would benefit all of us to view our differences as richness. At times, we struggle to do that due to pain and hatred. When my grandfather was out of the prison he said ‘I left a good deal of my pain and hatred inside or else even when I was out, I would have stayed in that prison.’ And I think that is something quite important to note.”
“This visit has made me very happy”
Indicating that he was quite pleased with his visit to Turkey, Mandela voiced his feelings as follows:
“I thank Turkey for the hospitality they showed. This visit has made me very happy. The food was great. October 29 celebrations were indeed quite beautiful. Celebrations are not held in such high spirits in our country. I saw the flags, the lights, the pictures of Atatürk, they were everywhere. I don’t observe this kind of joy in my country. This is really inspiring. There was a coup attempt in recent times. It is still fresh in your memories. Therefore, these celebrations are particularly important.”