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Mandela's inspiration
On Monday morning the seemingly tireless Nelson Mandela (85) attended two meetings in Cape Town.

On Monday morning the seemingly tireless Nelson Mandela (85) attended two meetings in Cape Town, then jetted back to his home town to speak to Women in Action for Development at a dinner at the Johannesburg Country Club.

The function was part of a month long celebration of women and the former president left no doubt that he has nothing but the deepest of respect for the opposite sex.

"We should be celebrating women and their central role in society all year long," he said.

"One of the achievements of the democratic South Africa is that gender issues have achieved prominence. Today we speak of the ideals of South Africa being non-sexist and non-racist."

He said the current situation had been reached because women had demanded their rights and status in society. Mandela commended them.

"Through that you improve the lot of women but liberate all of us. You the women of the nation have been an inspiration to us. We have to build a society where women share in the economic, cultural and social fruits."

However, Mandela warned there still much to be done to fulfill the ideals of gender equality. He said domestic violence, rape and abuse were a "disgrace" in a country that was perceived to be a miracle nation. - Sapa