BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: In Depth: Conferences: Labour  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Labour Thursday, 28 September, 2000, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Mandela thrills Labour conference
Nelson Mandela
Mandela takes the thunderous applause
Nelson Mandela has brought the Labour Party conference in Brighton to a close with a speech warning of the dangers of globalisation and an appeal over Aids.

He called for condemnation of those aspects of globalisation that brought poverty in the world.

"All human beings are born equal they must be treated equally," he said.


To have sustained such an organisation for a century is a testament of the spirit that continues to believe that the world can be made a better place for us all

Nelson Mandela
"The concern for the common good, which characterised the international solidarity we spoke of is in danger of being lost in the current understanding of a global world," he said.

"We would argue that the shrinking of the globe through the advances in communications and information technology has made it even more incumbent upon us to become once more the keepers of our brothers and sisters wherever in the world.

"Our historic relationship with the Labour Party rests upon our common concern to centrally represent the voice and interests of those sectors traditionally excluded from power and privilege," said Mr Mandela.

'No words' to describe Aids in South Africa

Mr Mandela said the impact of Aids and HIV on South Africa was "a crisis of a dimension which I cannot support in words".

"In our country, 10 teachers die every month of Aids. In one university, a student dies every week. And in one of the most prominent universities in the country, more than 25% of the students are HIV positive.

"In one of our neighbouring countries, three Cabinet ministers, one of whom was a doctor, have died because of illness."

Mr Mandela appealed: "We look to our friends to assist us to stave off that crisis."

Mr Mandela then detailed donations he had been given to fight the impact and the spread of Aids.

US President Bill Clinton had given Mr Mandela $5 million to use specifically to fight the scourge.

Bill Gates gave him $10 million, and Mr Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, had given him $5 million.

He joked: "But what worries me even more is the fact that my wife is becoming more important than I am."

Poverty and inequality still exist

"It is a sad fact of our times that in spite of the huge advances... of humankind, poverty and inequality remain features of all societies."

"This may very well be one of the major political and moral tasks of the Labour Party in the 21st century."

Earlier Mr Mandela - who is an honorary member of the Labour Party - had walked into the conference hall grinning broadly, arm-in-arm with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Delegates rose to their feet and gave him the warmest welcome of the whole conference.

As he passed onto the platform he shook hands with the schoolchildren from the Corpus Christi school in Brixton who had earlier performed a song with the pop star Gabrielle, whom Mr Mandela greeted with a kiss.

Thanks for Labour assistance

In his speech, the former South African president had warm words for the Labour Party.

He said: "It gives us great pleasure to join you at your party congress in the year it celebrates its centenary."

"To have sustained such an organisation for a century is a testament of the spirit that continues to believe that the world can be made a better place for us all."

"The centenary celebrations of such a political organisation serves to remind us, here, at the start of a new millennium, of the continued need to persevere in the pursuit of those ideals."

He said the British Labour Party was one of the organisations that "contributed significantly to our freedom".

Britain was a second headquarters of our movement [the ANC] in exile, he said.

Nelson Mandela and Tony Blair
Mandela and Blair on the conference platform
Mr Mandela was the first black president of South Africa after the end of apartheid and as an ANC leader spent over 27 years in jail, mainly on Robben Island.

He is famously quoted as saying: "The struggle is my life."

Before he spoke, delegates watched a video detailing the Labour movement's participation in the struggle against apartheid.

Archive footage showed former Labour leaders such as Harold Wilson, Neil Kinnock, Michael Foot and John Smith either with Mr Mandela after his release or campaigning for his freedom.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's John Pienaar
"The party's gone home and the problems are still there"
Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
"In one university a student dies every week"
Foreign Office Minister, Peter Hain
"There weren't many dry eyes in the house"

Week's top stories

Analysis

Best of the fringe

WEBCASTS
See also:

30 Aug 00 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Labour stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Labour stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes