Leave Nelson Mandela alone
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has told people to stop bugging the former president
The Foundation issued a statement today saying:
"Nelson Mandela receives at least 4,000 messages a month from people throughout the world. Many of these pay tribute to Mr Mandela and wish him well in his retirement. However, there are just many requests: for his signature, a message of support, a public appearance or an interview. There are also continued injunctions for him to intervene in struggles around the world, and to endorse various causes.
"As far back as 1999 Mr Mandela said the following in response to these calls: 'I don't want to reach 100 years whilst I am still trying to bring about a solution in some complicated international issue'.
"Then, in 2004 he publicly announced his intention to step away from public life and tasked three organisations (the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation) with carrying on his humanitarian work.
"Finally, in 2008, during his 90th birthday celebrations, he pointedly called on people everywhere to pick up the baton of leadership, saying: 'It's in your hands to make the world a better place'.
"The Nelson Mandela Foundation would like to ask people everywhere to help make Madiba's retirement a time of peace and tranquillity, and to once more note the following:
- He no longer grants interviews, nor does he respond to formal questions from the media, researchers or members of the public.
- Given the huge number of projects and causes he is asked to endorse, and the impossibility of selecting a few among the many worthy requests, he no longer provides messages of support, written or audio visual.
- Because of the sheer volume of requests for his autographs, he no longer signs books, memorabilia, photographs, etc. We therefore appeal to the public not to send items for him to sign as the Foundation cannot guarantee the safe return of this material".
The statement was headed: "Help Make Mr Mandela's retirement peaceful".