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Nelson Mandela at Live 8 Joberg

On July 2, 2005 former South African President Nelson Mandela urged world leaders to fight poverty to prevent "a genocide of humanity". He delivered this speech to a crowd of over 8,000 in Mary Fitzgerald Square in the heart of Newtown.

Please note that this speech is similar to a speech that Neslon Mandela gave in February 2005 in Trafalgar Square with some minor changes to address the Live 8 crowd and the upcoming G8 summit meeting in Scotland.

The speech listed below was obtained listening to the Live 8 concert and transcribing line-by-line each word that Nelson Mandela said.


"Comrades, I am pleased to be here today to support Africa steady toll against poverty in concert with Live 8. As you know, I formally announced my retirement.

From public lifer and should really not be here. However, as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in this world, none of us can truly rest. We shall never forget how millions of people around the world joined us in solidarity to fight the injustice of our oppression while we were incarcerated.

Those efforts paid off and we are able to stand here and join the millions around the world in support of freedom against poverty. Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our time; times in which the world are both breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation. We live in a world where knowledge and information have made enormous strides yet millions of children are not in school.

We live in a world where the aids pandemic threatens the very fabric of our life. Yet we spend more money on weapons than of the support for the millions infected by HIV. It is a world of great promise and hope. It is also a world of despair, disease and hunger. Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity; it is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty exists there is no true freedom.

The steps that are needed from the developing nations are clear. The first ensuring trade justice. I have said before that trade justice is a truly meaningful way for the developed countries to show commitment of brining about an end to global poverty. The second is an end to debt crisis to the poor countries. The third is to deliver much more aid and make sure that it is of the highest quality.

In a few days time the leaders of the G8 nations will meet in Scotland. They will face perhaps the most critical questions that our world has had to face. How do we remove the face of poverty from our world? So much of our common future will depend on the actions and plans of these leaders. They have a historical opportunity to open the door to hope and the possibility of a better future for all.

History and the generations to come will judge our leaders by the decisions that they make in the coming weeks. I say to all those leaders, I say to all those leaders…. Do not look the other way. It is easy to make promises but never go to action.

We ask our leaders to demonstrate their commitment and not engage in hallow promises. We want action. It is within your power to prevent genocide against humanity. We stand tall and await your direction.

We thank you for coming here to day and we thank the millions of people around the world support this effort. Today should not be the only time we rally in support of eradication of poverty. This should be an ongoing effort. Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy… but not to do this would be a crime against humanity, a crime against which I ask all humanity now to all rise up. I thank you."


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