of the Mandela Institute
Supreme Court of Appeal, Bloemfontein, and Chair of the Wits Council
of the best evenings I have experienced since becoming chairman
of the Wits Council was the launch of the Mandela Institute. Former
President Mandela agreed to lend his name to the Institute. Since
he seldom does this, it is indeed a high accolade.
typical Nelson Mandela style, a carefully scripted and appropriate
speech was delivered, underscoring the importance of the rule
of law and emphasizing the central role the Wits Law School had
played in sustaining the notion of human rights as a core impulse
in South African legal scholarship. He also affirmed Wits as one
of South Africa's premier intellectual institutions and reminisced
about the time he had spent here, the training he received and
the important friendships he had made.
done this, however, Mr. Mandela cast aside his scripted speech.
He turned to the controversy about whether South Africa had any
reason for pride in its achievements since becoming a democracy.
He said that no South African, black or white, should forget the
miracle that we have achieved. Much remained to be done. But a
great deal had already been attained. In this context, he said,
the endowment appeal was important and deserved the support of
his way out that evening, Mr. Mandela passed each table, greeting
old friends for what they were and greeting new acquaintances
in much the same way. It was a marvelous and inspiring evening,
and a suitable launch of the Mandela Institute.