The Elders


The Elders launch #WalkTogether campaign in Cape Town

In July 2017, The Elders and civil society partners launched #WalkTogether: a global campaign to spark hope in the world and to encourage communities to work together and bridge the global fault lines of division, hate and xenophobia.

On 18 July, The Elders marked the 10th anniversary of the day Nelson Mandela launched the group in Cape Town, South Africa to #WalkTogether, in solidarity with courageous community members working for the freedoms to which Madiba dedicated his life. This kicked off a year-long global campaign to encourage communities around the world to continue Mandela’s long walk to freedom.

Graça Machel welcomes the the crowd that came from around the Cape Peninsula, urging them to join The Elders to #WalkTogether. She was joined on stage by her fellow Elders Martti Ahtisaari, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Hina Jilani, Ricardo Lagos and Mary Robinson, as well as civil society leaders and activists including Kumi Naidoo and Andile Gaeliswe.

After rousing speeches from community leaders, activists and Graça Machel, the group walked together to Cape Town’s International Convention Centre, for an exciting programme including musical performances and conversations between Elders and activists.

Citizens of all ages and backgrounds joined The Elders during the inaugural #Walk Together, representing all parts of South African society.

"Let's walk in Madiba's shoes & continue his long walk to freedom to realise our humanity in its fullest form, said Graça Machel as she delivered her keynote address.

Martti Ahtisaari, Hina Jilani, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mary Robinson and Ricardo Lagos stand in tribute to their founder Nelson Mandela, along with Richard Branson, as Graça Machel and the entire the audience sing Happy Birthday on the day when Madiba would have been 99 years old.

Hina Jilani spoke about hope and the power of an individual’s contribution to make positive change and Benjamin Grant of Last Mile Health, explained how community health workers in Liberia, working with local communities, can overcome enormous challenges, such as the Ebola crisis.

Martti Ahtisaari recalls bringing difficult political forces together to make positive change. Mabel van Oranje underscored the power of the collective, as demonstrated by the progress being made by Girls Not Brides, a coalition of many organisations, working to end child marriage.

Namati’s Founder and lifelong justice defender, Vivek Maru, listens as Danny Sriskrandarajah of CIVICUS underscores the importance of a vibrant civil society alongside government and other institutions, to realising the freedoms for Peace, Health, Justice and Equality.

Ricardo Lagos recalls his experiences as President of Chile in promoting measures to improve society, the economy and offer people better lives, in a new democracy, whilst at the same time going through the difficult challenge of introducing health care for all during his tenure.

Concluding the event, The Elders invite the VIPs of the Assitej performing arts programme, to deliver their inspirational interpretation of the speech Nelson Mandela gave in launching The Elders and giving them their mandate on July 2007, exactly ten years earlier.

Photos: The Elders #WalkTogether

Walk Together

As they turned 10, The Elders rededicated themselves to continuing Mandela's long walk to freedom, with a campaign to bridge the deepening global fault lines of division, hate and xenophobia.


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The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

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