Mandela’s wife receives Gülen Peace & Dialogue Award

7 April 2013 /TÜRKMEN TERZİ, JOHANNESBURG – Zaman – Graça Machel, Nelson Mandela’s wife, accepted the Fethullah Gülen Peace and Dialogue Award from the South Africa-based Turquoise Harmony Institute on Friday. “The world knows me as a human rights activist. By accepting this award, I also accept a great responsibility,” said Machel.

Those in attendance at the award ceremony in Johannesburg included South African Deputy Minister of Economic Development Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Interior Minister Fatima Chohan, Prime Minister of Gauteng province Nomvula Mokonyane, Turkish Ambassador to South Africa Kaan Esener, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Pretoria Shehan Ratnavale, South African football star Siphiwe Tshabalala, and Turkish businessman Ali Katırcıoğlu along with many other guests.

The general director of the Turquoise Harmony Institute, Ayhan Çetin, said the reason they gathered was to honor individuals and groups who contribute to peace, education, positive dialogue and service to humanity.

Machel received her award from Katırcıoğlu and said in her acceptance speech: “First of all I would like to thank all South Africans who pray for Nelson Mandela, who is undergoing treatment in the hospital. I do not accept this award only on my own behalf, but on behalf of the people whose pain I shared throughout my life. I spent my lifetime sharing the pain and joy of mothers and children in areas ridden by conflict. I have devoted my life to women who were tortured by their own families.”

Before leaving the award ceremony early in order to be at her husband’s side at the hospital, Machel talked to the Cihan news agency. She said the Turquoise Harmony Institute serves as a bridge between the people of Turkey and South Africa as well as Mozambique as it builds a society in which each individual lives with dignity.

Other awards in the areas of academia, education, arts, media, social service and sports were handed out to University of the Free State Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen, Gauteng region’s Minister of Education Barbara Creecy, artist James Webb, the South African Editors Forum (SANEF), Shout SA and South Africa’s Olympic gold medal winning rowing team, respectively.