Nelson Mandela receives top Africa Scout Award
Mandela, former President of South Africa, has been presented
the Africa Elephant, the top Scout award in the continent,
for his continued support of the growth and development of
the Scout Movement.
The award was presented on April 23 by the Vice Chairman
of the Africa Scout Committee, Nkwenkwe Nkomo, who is also
the Chief Scout of South Africa.
"The welfare of young people is very close to Mandela's
heart. Although he never wanted places and things named after
him, a significant and very telling testimony of his love
for young people is the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, established
when he pledged one third of his salary for five years to
help young people in South Africa," said Kinuthia Murugu,
Director of the Africa Scout Region, headquartered in Nairobi,
Speaking as the Patron of the South African Scout Association,
Mandela praised the progress that the Scout Movement is making
as a world leader in youth education. He said: "The importance
of a high moral code, which is at the foundation of the Scout
Movement, cannot be stressed too highly."
The Scout Movement is in the forefront in the fight against
HIV/AIDS in Africa, especially among young people who comprise
the majority in the population. This is an issue for which
Mr. Mandela has also vowed to commit his life. Recently, while
receiving an award for humanity from the British Red Cross,
Mandela said; "I am now devoting my life to fight AIDS
in Africa, especially with young people." The award was
presented to him by the then Secretary General of the World
Organization of the Scout Movement, Dr. Jacques Moreillon,
in his capacity as a member of the International Committee
of the Red Cross.
The Scout Movement is the world's largest educational youth
movement with more that 28 million Scouts, youth and adults,
in 216 countries and territories. The mission of Scouting
is to contribute to the education of young people, through
a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help
build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals
and play a constructive role in society.
The full text of the citation follows:
CITATION FOR THE AWARD OFTHE AFRICA ELEPHANT AWARD BY THE
AFRICA SCOUT COMMITTEE TO DR. NELSON MANDELA
His Excellency retired President Nelson Mandela was born
and grew up in the province of Transkei in rural South Africa.
From his first day at school he valued education and recognised
in it the vehicle for the advancement of the people of Africa.
Despite interruptions to his education caused by his standing
up for his principles whilst at Fort Hare University, Dr.
Mandela was able to continue his studies through other means
and over many years, at times under the very difficult conditions
of prison life. Scouting, which is a form of non-formal education,
understands and recognises this commitment.
Dr. Mandela has had an enduring belief in the youth and has
always promoted the development of young people. In 1943,
he and a group of other visionary freedom fighters launched
the ANC Youth League as a way of bringing youthful dynamism
to the freedom struggle. The empowerment and involvement of
young people is central to Scouting and is now the number
one strategic priority of the World Organization of the Scout
But more than anything else, Dr. Mandela will always be best
known and remembered for his epic struggle against apartheid
and his central role in creating a new South Africa where
people of all races can live as equals. Despite great hardships
,harassment and being imprisoned for 27 years, he remained
steadfast and true to his believes. His determination, perseverance,
courage and self-sacrifice for the good of other people are
qualities that all Scouts should emulate as they endeavour
to live in accordance with the Scout Law and Promise.
In 1977, the South Africa Scout Association took the courageous
and unprecedented step of defying a cruel and unjust system
and opened its doors to all young South Africans in a single
united Association. Upon becoming President of South Africa
in1994, Dr. Mandela recognised this pioneering role of Scouting
in integrating South African society when he accepted to become
the Association's Patron.
Under his patronage, the Scout movement has made tremendous
progress and is today the largest youth organisation in South
Africa. In 1999, the Scout Association played host to the
world when the 35th World Scout Conference was held in Durban.
Today, South African Scouting is at the fore front of the
campaign against HIV/AIDS, empowering young people to say
no to unsafe sex and drugs whilst equipping them with values
and life skills that will make them self reliant, supportive,
responsible and committed persons able and willing to contribute
to the building of a dynamic and democratic South African
In recognition of his commitment to the dignity and freedom
of all people, his supportfor the development of young people
and their education, and his contribution to the growth of
Scouting in South Africa and beyond, Dr. Nelson Mandela is
hereby awarded the AFRICA ELEPHANT AWARD, the highest and
only Award given by the Africa Scout Committee.