A Tribute to Ambassador Andrew J. Young

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Sello Hatang, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe and Ambassador Young chatting before the start of the event.

Press Release
March 31, 2016

U.S. Ambassador Pays Tribute to American Champion of the Anti-Apartheid Movement  Ambassador Andrew J. Young

Johannesburg, South Africa — United States Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard hosted a tribute to Ambassador Andrew J. Young at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory on March 29, 2016.  The event, attended by Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency, Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Kgalema Motlanthe,  former president of South Africa, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, ANC Treasurer General and former KZN Premier , Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, Advocate George Bizos, as well as numerous South African government officials, business leaders and activists, highlighted the deep sense of support and kinship the American public felt for South Africans in their fight against apartheid.  The event took place on the occasion of Ambassador Young’s March 20-April 2 “South Africa Heritage Tour.”

Ambassador Gaspard kicked off the event by speaking directly to Ambassador Young, saying, “I am not the first person, nor will I be the last, to say that you have long been a personal hero of mine.  Many of us followed in the footsteps of your generation — from the electrifying pulpits in Georgia and Alabama, to the marbled halls of Congress, to the seat of the mayoralty in City Hall in Atlanta and of course to the rarefied air of the UN General Assembly where you served as the Ambassador to the UN under President Carter…  Not only did you demonstrate to us a compassionate leadership, but also a courageous one.  Because all of us know that there were times when you stood up and spoke out even against the doctrines of your own government.  We remember when, as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, you went before the U.S. State Department and you called the circumstances in South Africa just sinful and an outrage.  And you suggested that the techniques that were used by Gandhi and in our own civil rights movement should be effectively applied here.”

Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, followed by saying, “As human beings, we are less appreciative of the giants that walk among us and choose to appreciate them when they have been called to eternal rest.  I am honored today to pay tribute to an icon in his own right, a colossus and a legend who has inspired the global struggle for justice.  Wherever [Andrew Young] goes he brings hope and raises the spirit of no surrender against injustice.”

Ambassador Young concluded the event by sharing some reflections on South Africa.  He said, “While you look at everything that goes wrong, I see wonderful people in this country who do wonderful things.”  He relayed memories prominent South Africans, including students and young leaders, who had returned to South Africa from the United States in order to contribute to the country.

The program also included the screening of a video, created in honor of Ambassador Young, featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Advocate George Bizos, among many others who paid tribute to Ambassador Young and thanked him for his contributions to the anti-Apartheid movement.

For more information about this program and others hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, please contact Cynthia Harvey, Spokesperson, at harveycr@state.gov