Nelson Mandela was for decades the figurehead of the fight for equality in South Africa as well as for peace and social justice. He is one of the most prominent and important friends of the SOS Children's Village work in Africa.
South Africa's first black president and the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1993, he personally spoke out in favour of building an SOS Children's Village in Umtata, in the Eastern Cape Province. Early in 2001 Umtata was opened as the sixth SOS Children's Village in South Africa. During the opening ceremony of the SOS Children's Village in Cape Town in 1996 he held the following speech:
"I would like to tell every young person here today that I love them very much. You are the future of South Africa, the hope of our rainbow country. [...] Many of these children were robbed of their right to a decent education and adequate health care, stable family lives and sometimes of their entire childhood. And this applies to the majority of children. The graver circumstances of those who are homeless, destitute or orphaned without any love or care, are deeply distressing. [...] You, Mr. Kutin, are doing the right thing with SOS Children's Village." - Nelson Mandela