Merkel meets Mandela: "An extremely moving moment"

Sat, 06.10.2007
Nelson Mandela and Angela Merkel
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Photo: REGIERUNGonline/Bergmann
Nelson Mandela and Angela Merkel
On Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel met former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. After the meeting with the erstwhile spearhead of the anti-apartheid movement, the Chancellor said, it was, "an extremely moving moment for me, to meet Nelson Mandela in person and speak with him".
The Chancellor was deeply impressed by Nelson Mandela, who is seen as the symbol of the victory over apartheid in his country. Even as a young woman, the Chancellor was fascinated by his resistance to the apartheid system and followed his progress avidly.
Mandela has a message for us all, said Merkel. "We need peace in the world, and in particular the conflicts in Africa must be resolved peacefully." His own example is proof enough that non-violence is the better path in the final analysis, she continued.

Intervening for a peaceful world

The 89-year-old Nobel peace prize winner emphasised during their meeting that conflicts – say with Syria, Sudan and in Somalia – can only be resolved using peaceful means.
Mandela has a clear standpoint on AIDS. This is a problem for the whole of humanity, and can only be resolved if all nations work together. The problem must not be played down. The Nelson Mandela Foundation finances many AIDS projects and assistance programmes for children. It has been built up with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), German Technical Cooperation.

Aid projects in South Africa

After her meeting with Mandela, the Chancellor continued her trip to Cape Town, where she visited an environmental project and an AIDS project. She also met representatives of civil society, including the Mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille. The great niece of the Berlin artist and writer, Heinrich Zille, is the Chairperson of the liberal opposition party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance.
On Sunday the Chancellor will be leaving South Africa for Liberia.