|REFLECTING U.N. CULTURE, MANDELA PORTRAIT
15 March 2007
Twenty-seven years after his Walk to Freedom, the greatest symbol of struggle for Human Dignity had his portrait
placed at United Nations Headquarters. Nelson Mandela, South African Apartheid prisoner number 46664, tore down the
chains of hatred and bigotry to teach us all the true meaning of tolerance and justice. Rising above his personal
wounds, and those of his people, "Madeba" reflected what is best in Africa, what is best in our world: a determined
spirit, and a compassionate soul.
In fact, Nelson Mandela reflected what was best in the United Nations authentic culture: dedication, sacrifice, and
an enlightened commitment to a future of peace based on justice and freedom.
It was fitting that the portrait ceremony in New York was chaired by a distinguished daughter of Tanzania, Deputy
Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro. Her country has been in the forefront of the struggle for self-determination and the
fight against Apartheid. History shows how Muallimu Julius Nyrere, God bless his soul, taught us all how to conduct an
enlightened unflinching campaign for the cause. Dar es-Salaam played a pivotal role in the independence of many member
states which, in turn, helped their brothers and sisters elsewhere on the road to liberation. It was a sacred cause
in which each of us at the United Nations felt honoured and proud to have shared in participation.
Ms. Migiro described Madeba Mandela as a "true human treasure." His portrait by Jan Beckman has found its
appropriate spot near the Security Council, perhaps as a constant reminder to its members of their pending
commitments. His real portrait will always be in our grateful hearts.