Mauritius: In the context of Nelson Mandela International Day, observed on 18 July annually, an official ceremony was held today, at the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture Trust Fund (NMCAC) in Pointe Aux Sables, in the presence of the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Prithvirajsing Roopun.
The Vice-President of the Republic of Mauritius, Marie Cyril Eddy Boissézon; the High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa, Dr Hlamalani Nelly Manzini; the United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative for Mauritius, Amanda Serumaga; the Secretary General of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Salman Al Farisi; the Director of Special Education Needs Authority (SENA), Deewakarsingh Authelsingh; the Chairperson of the NMCAC, Oliver Thomas, and several other dignitaries, were also present on occasion.
The event was organised by the High Commission of the Republic of South Africa in collaboration with the NMCAC and the SENA in recognition of the contributions to the culture of peace and freedom made by the former South African President, Mr Nelson Mandela, also known as Madiba. This year marks the 105th Anniversary of Madiba, and the theme retained is “The Legacy Lives on Through You: Climate, Food and Solidarity”.
In his keynote address, President Roopun underlined that the Day is an occasion to celebrate the rich legacy of one of the greatest leaders to have marked the history of Africa with meaningful achievements, most particularly for bringing South Africa out of apartheid, and for charting a path for reconciliation. “Madiba’s contributions, principles and values are remarkable and will always have great significance in the lives of people”, he stated.
“His urge to promote peace, solidarity and unity as well as his deep commitment to social justice, human rights and fundamental freedom is praiseworthy and is most relevant in the actual context”, observed the President. The theme, he further said, reflects the urgent need for stronger collaboration and concerted efforts to tackle challenges such as climate change and promote food security to cater to the well-being of the population.
President Roopun highlighted that the Day is a reminder of the values that Madiba stood for and is a call for action to make a difference in one’s lives. Education is the key to development, empowerment and social emancipation, he mentioned, while adding that Madiba has always advocated for free education and inclusiveness. Similarly, he stated, Mauritius, through the programmes and policies of the SENA and other institutions, is ensuring equal access to education so that children with SEN are not left behind.
For her part, Serumaga dwelt on the importance to work together as a nation and build an inclusive society for greater social cohesion and harmony. Countries, she stressed, are called upon to join hands for achieving the Sustainable Development Agenda as guided by the principles of Nelson Mandela.
As for Secretary General Al Farisi, he indicated that the vision for IORA originated during a visit by Nelson Mandela to India in 1995. Madiba’s values underpin the creation of the Association which is striving to make the Indian Ocean a safe, secure and prosperous region.