The Belgrade Museum of African Art held a thematic evening marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, as well as the promotion of the English edition of the book “Mandela’s Code” by Dr. Vesna Jugović de Vinča His latest interview, the great African and world leader Nelson Mandela, was given precisely to the Serbian journalist Vesna Jugović. An unusual, hard but exciting and, above all, educating life of this man who was said to be “the giant of two centuries” and the icon of the struggle for freedom not only of the African continent, but of all mankind, as well as his life principles, work and his code of leadership, are the subject of this book.
“Mandela’s Code” was recently published in the edition of the International Foundation for Sustainable Peace and Development and the Institute for Textbooks from Belgrade. In the full hall of the Museum, the a cappella “Hymn of Africa” was performed by the band “Voice, Not Wire”, followed by ambassadors of Algeria and Palestine, Abdelhamid Chebchob and Mohammed Nabhan, former Yugoslav ambassador to African countries Danilo Milić, director of Color Press group Robert Čoban, director of the Textbook Institute Dragoljub Kojčić, and the author herself – Vesna Jugović de Vinča.
SPEECH OF H.E.MR. ABDELHAMID CHEBCHOUB, AMBASSADOR OF ALGERIA DEAN OF THE GROUP OF AFRICAN AMBASSADORS IN SERBIA ON THE OCCASION OF NELSON MANDELA’S 100TH BIRTHDAY
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic missions,
Mr. Dragoljub Kojčić, Director of the publishing company IT,
Mr. Robert Čoban, General director of Color Press Group,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank all of you for your presence and show special appreciation in the name of all of us to Ms. Marija Aleksić for having made the Museum of African Arts available for the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.
There is no better place to pay tribute to this great man of Africa than this African – colored space, custodian of a segment of our cultural heritage.
We sought to pay respect essentially by launching a book dedicated to him «The Mandela’s Code» by Ms. Vesna Jugovic de Vinca which has been initially published in Serbian language while its English version will be presented to you by the author in a certainly better way than I could do.
This literary work, written with great sensitivity and a profound search for the truth, faithfully depicts in my opinion both the eminence and the simplicity of this man.
The portrait admirably made by Ms. Vesna reveals to us, line by line, that the principles defended by Nelson Mandela and the strength of his beliefs are indeed, the traits of his personality and his nature that have remained unaltered despite all sacrifices he had endured in his lifetime.
In my capacity of Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, I am proud, along with my fellow African Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic Missions, to mark together with you this anniversary and pay tribute to this valiant son of Africa.
And as the Ambassador of Algeria, I am twice as proud, given the special ties that Nelson Mandela had with my country, which he had visited before the independence to draw inspiration from techniques used during the national liberation war by Algerian fighters in their struggle against the colonial system and, that he has revisited in the aftermath of his liberation in 1992 to thank Algeria for the support given to the South African people in its long-lasting struggle for regaining freedom.
In this context, I can’t help but recall that the racist regime in Pretoria was excluded from the United Nations at the General Assembly session in 1974, chaired by the President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, and with the support of non-aligned countries thus marking the beginning of its international isolation.
I believe that every human being should be guided by “Mandela’s code” especially in today’s world which faces a revival of exclusion, injustice, intolerance and in which peace is threatened in many of its parts.
That is why I would like to thank on behalf of all of you Ms. Vesna for her work and for having written a book, which I invite you to read, and which allows us to revisit ” Madiba’s ” grandiose achievements.
Thank you for your attention.
Robert Čoban also addressed the guests. This is his speech.
Your Excellencies, dear Vesna, dear friends,
It was year 2009. when I spent 10 days in South Africa with Vesna and her team. Purpose of our visit was Miss World in Johanesburg, or Joburg how they call it.
Last day of our trip I took the opportunity to visit Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Museum was opened in 2001. – 7 years after the fall of Apartheid, one of the worst shame on Human kind in second half od 20th Century.
As a journalist and publisher from region of former Yugoslavia, 10 years after NATO bombing and 14 years after the end of war in Croatia and Bosnia, I was fully awared about Banality of Evil, how Hannah Arendt called it.
Nevertheless, I remained silent – two hours after my visit to Apartheid Museum.
Still, there is something that we in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and the rest of the region can learn from South Africans.
Two words: Truth and Reconcilliation. This is what we still don’t have, 20 years after last war in the region.
I know Vesna for more than two decades. All her interviews and her journalist work is about – truth. Truth in our lives, truth in our country, truth in our world.
This great book is just one piece in magnificent mosaic of her journalist career.
Dear Vesna, stay young, stay hungry for truth.