The Nelson Mandela 7th Annual Lecture took place at the City Hall in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the 11 July 2009. This had to have been one of the most significant events on the calendar for the year. To give you an idea of significance of this event, guest speakers at this event over the years include the likes of the ex US President Bill Clinton, Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu and ex UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to name a few. Having a guest speaker of the status of Nobel Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus and being graced by the presence of Nelson Mandela himself was something to behold. Nelson Mandela has significantly reduced the number of public appearances he makes and is sure to reduce this even more as the years pass by.
Professor Yunus also gave a stellar performance in conveying his message. He won the Nobel Prize for the internationally acclaimed Grameen Bank initiative which has been blogged about several times on SDN. I was gob smacked at the high level of abstraction he applied when dealing with challenges that may seem insurmountable. He also emphasized sustainable social businesses and how they could aid in eliminating social injustices. I couldn’t help thinking that we are in the presence of greatness and that I may never see people of this stature together on the same platform in my lifetime.
Also attending this phenomenal event was a string of influential politicians in the South African context and from outside South Africa.
Then, the cherry on top, was the team of volunteers from SAP South Africa that assisted to ensure that the event went off smoothly.