President Cyril Ramaphosa has spent Nelson Mandela International Day giving back to South African children through a virtual book reading session.
The president spent time with children from Ikageng Orphanage in Orlando West, Soweto in the virtual session which was organised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
During the session, he spoke to children about former president Nelson Mandela and his writings on youth and education, which he said he found to be a great source of inspiration.
“He said young people are determined to build a new world of hope … the future belongs to our youth,” Ramaphosa said.
“You must be clear thinkers, you must be independent in your thinking and you must be determined to shape the future.”
Ramaphosa also stressed the importance of education for the youth.
“The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Education is an important weapon to prepare children for leadership.”
Ramaphosa was joined, virtually, by Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang as well as Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and his wife Rachel.
He said Siya Kolisi was an example of a South African “flying the flag of hope”, much like Madiba who “never gave up hope when he was in prison”.
LIVE: President @CyrilRamaphosa engages with children in a book reading session for #MandelaDay. He is joined by @NelsonMandela Foundation CEO @sellohatang and Springboks Captain @SiyaKolisi_Bear https://t.co/GZrgskwesl
— Presidency | South Africa ???????? (@PresidencyZA) July 18, 2020
The president will also officiate the donation of food parcels and blankets to 100 families in the community. The donation by the Nelson Mandela and the Kolisi Foundation is in response to this year’s theme “Each1Feed1” to fight global hunger.
The day is expected to culminate in Ramaphosa’s delivery of a recorded message of support to the 18th Nelson Mandela annual lecture under the theme “Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era”.
United Nations secretary-general António Guterres will deliver the lecture this year, the Nelson Mandela Foundation announced.
This year’s lecture will be the first to be hosted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.