South Africans must draw inspiration from former President Nelson Mandela as the battle for Table Mountain to be named one of the New7Wonders of Nature enters its final week. Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, said South Africans could draw inspiration from Mandela and ensure their mountain made the final seven.
“If Mr Nelson Mandela cannot appeal to the South African nation personally at this point in time to vote for Table Mountain, then every South African and those worldwide who admire Mr Mandela owe it to him to vote for Table Mountain, his mountain of hope,” Weber said.
Weber, who paid a two-day visit to Cape Town last week, said that he had met Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former president FW De Klerk. The Nobel Peace prize winners, who are ambassadors of the Table Mountain campaign, had asked if Table Mountain could still make it to the final Seven Wonders of Nature list with only five days left.
Weber told them that one of the eventual winners in the Man-made Seven Wonders campaign in 2007 had been in a worse position than Table Mountain at the same stage of the campaign. He recommended to Bishop Tutu and Mr De Klerk that South Africa’s three living Nobel Peace Prize winners should (Mandela is the third) make a joint appeal.
“I understand that Mr Mandela is not well and I wish him all the best. At the same time I’m aware that he said Table Mountain became his mountain of hope as he watched it from his Robben Island prison cell. If he cannot join in a joint appeal because of his health, South Africans have a wonderful opportunity to give something back to him: Vote for Table Mountain and make this mountain of hope one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature,” Weber said.
“Each time I have been to Africa — so memorably to Bamako and Timbuktu in Mali during the New7Wonders of the World Tour in 2007 — I have been privileged to meet some of the most charismatic people on our planet,” Weber added. “It seems to me that Africa, with its joy of life and its tragedies that are lived out every day, produces exceptional personalities and leaders with qualities hard to find anywhere else in the world. The keen interest shown by both Archbishop Tutu and Mr. de Klerk in the new technologies has really impressed me as it rare to meet people in their stages of life so full of enthusiasm about the future of our world.”
De Klerk has also appealed to teachers in South Africa to encourage children in their classes to vote for Table Mountain this week: “In 1994 we all united in our country’s first democratic election. Our children could not vote with us at the time, as they were not registered voters. Now they can vote for Table Mountain. Here is a special chance to unite our nation. This world heritage site belongs to all who love South Africa. The Table Mountain campaign cuts across political, religious, cultural and ideological boundaries,” De Klerk said.
UPDATE: On 8 November, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, issued a statement supporting the call to vote for Table Mountain to become one of the New7Wonders of Nature.
The South African Cabinet issued a formal statement on 26 October stating: “Cabinet noted that there are 14 days left for South Africans to vote Table Mountain, one of only two African nominees in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition, into the history books and onto the travel itinerary of millions. Table Mountain is one of 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition, in which the world’s top natural sites are being whittled down to seven winners in an exercise of global democracy that is expected to draw over a billion people. South Africans are encouraged to support Table Mountain by sending an sms with the word Table to 34874 without delay.”