News Releases

Global Fund Honors Nelson Mandela

06 December 2013

GENEVA – The life of Nelson Mandela, whose exceptional courage and forbearance led to tremendous change and inspired people all over the world, is being honored everywhere following his death on 5 December. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria joins those celebrations.

Mandela’s fight against injustice, his determination to right the wrongs of his society, and his insistence on forgiveness over vengeance established him as a leader of unparalleled moral stature. He is widely recognized for his great contributions to his native country, South Africa, and also for his universal values of dignity and fairness that have served as a model for political leaders everywhere.

Mandela played a special role in the fight against AIDS. On World AIDS Day, 1 December 1998, when he was serving as President of South Africa, he spoke in a televised address to his nation. “We admire the brave who are with us here today to say: We are the human face of AIDS! We are breaking the silence!”

While other political leaders denied or ignored the spread of HIV, causing severe damage by hindering the implementation of effective treatment, Mandela spoke openly. In 2000, when South Africa hosted an International AIDS Conference in Durban, he closed the conference, calling on the world to join forces to provide HIV treatment.

Nelson Mandela showed us all that personal sacrifice in the pursuit of greater good can be a powerful weapon. He demonstrated what one man’s courage can achieve, even when facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge. He led by example. He found the best in people, and he relentlessly strived for a better future.