Celebrating Mandela’s 100th birthday in South Africa

Richard and Sam Branson standing next to a statue of Nelson Mandela
Image from Greg Rose
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 17 July 2018

What an honour to be here in South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. It’s been an incredible week in Joburg and I’m sure today will be a fitting way to mark Madiba’s centenary.

The day started in the most wonderful fashion as we got to visit our dear friend and former Elders Chair Archbishop Tutu for breakfast. Arch was his usual cheeky, warm-hearted self, and even started an impromptu happy birthday song for yours truly. Thanks Arch!

Richard and Sam Branson sitting next to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a hall with other people in the background
Image from Greg Rose

Yesterday was a day we will never forget, from opening the Sparks of Hope Peace Park, to hearing President Obama discuss Madiba’s legacy and his own hopes for the future in the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture. It was truly inspiring – I’ll share more thoughts on it soon. 

Today we are very honoured to be continuing Madiba’s long walk to freedom. The Elders, activists, freedom fighters, justice defenders, advocates for social justice and young leaders will honour 100 Sparks of Hope, working for peace, health, justice and equality around the world.

Richard Branson speaking at The Elders event
Image from The Elders

I’ll be sharing from Constitution Hill as we #WalkTogether to honour Madiba, and you can livestream speeches from the likes of Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, Lakhdar Brahimi and other leading lights supporting #WalkTogether, including many Sparks of Hope. Head over to The Elders Facebook page to watch.