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LSE gives Mandela a musical welcome

Nelson Mandela was welcomed with music, dance and poetry as he spoke to students, staff and alumni of the London School of Economics and Political Science today (Thursday 6 April).

The former South African president was greeted by LSE's Director Professor Anthony Giddens, and Lord Grabiner, QC, chairman of LSE's Court of Governors, before giving a lecture on Africa and Its Position in the World.

African dance group Adzido performed at LSE's Peacock Theatre as the invited audience of 1,000 arrived - with more than 600 students, staff and alumni also viewing the event via video links in another building on LSE's Aldwych campus.

The student radio station PuLSE FM also attracted thousands of global listeners as it broadcast the event live via the Internet at http://www.pulselse.co.uk/|

The finale of the event were two surprise guests on stage. Poet Laureate Andrew Motion read a poem To Nelson Mandela: A Tribute while singer Joan Armatrading performed her song The Messenger, with the 15-piece Kingdom Chorus singers.

This is the first time Mr Mandela has spoken at LSE. His connection with the School is long-standing - LSE proposed Mr Mandela for a University of London honorary degree, which he received at Buckingham Palace in July 1996. South Africa's Minister for Education Kader Asmal is also an LSE alumnus and honorary fellow.

In addition, LSE has many research links with South Africa, mainly through:

  • CREFSA (Centre for Research into Economics and Finance in Southern Africa), contactDr Jonathan Leape on T: 020 7955 7505;
  • The Development Studies Institute, through Dr Elizabeth Francis;
  • Dr Jo Beall of LSE's Department of Social Policy, conducting work at present on Urban Governance and Urban Poverty in Johannesburg.

There are currently around 20 students from South Africa at LSE and nearly 300 alumni residents there.


A sound recording of the event is available via PuLSE FM at http://www.pulselse.co.uk/|

For a transcript of Mr Mandela's speech, click here|

Contact: LSE pressoffice@lse.ac.uk| or call 020 7955 7060

For details of the poem contact Carol McArthur on 020 7344 1000

For more details of the Joan Armatrading song, see http://www.joanarmatrading.com/|

6 April 2000