In 2005, Nelson Mandela gave his now famous speech at the Make Poverty History rally in London’s Trafalgar Square, and called on world leaders to make poverty history.
Addressing a staggering crowd of 22,000 people, Nelson Mandela, along with Bob Geldof, outlined the three demands that underpinned the Make Poverty History campaign, carving the way for the eradication of extreme poverty to be realized. He said:
“The steps that are needed from the developed nations are clear. The first is ensuring trade justice. I have said before that trade justice is a truly meaningful way for the developed countries to show commitment to bringing about an end to global poverty. The second is an end to the debt crisis for the poorest countries. The third is to deliver much more aid and make sure it is of the highest quality.”
Although we have achieved a lot over the last 13 years, and progress is definitely being made, Mandela laid out some pretty powerful points that still ring true today on what would have been his 100th birthday.
1. “Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.”
2. “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.”
3. “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”
4. “In this new century, millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.”
5. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.”
6. “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.
7. “While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
8. “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.”