Letter from Nelson Mandela regarding MTA award
The letter is handwritten in blue ink and is stamped “Chancellor’s Office April 23, 1986,” indicating when it was received. It is addressed: “Dear Mr. Duffey.” Joseph Duffey served as chancellor of the Amherst campus in 1986. Nelson Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe Mandela attended UMass at the time her father was honored by the MTA and accepted the award on his behalf. Nelson Mandela is believed to have written to the MTA via the chancellor’s office because his daughter sent the award back home from her campus.
The text below is transcribed from the original.
Pollsmoor Maximum Prison
Private Bag X 4, Tokai, 7966
4 4 86
Dear Mr. Duffey,
The award by the Massachusetts Teachers Association has inspired me beyond words, and the scroll now constitutes one of the family’s priceless possessions.
You will readily appreciate when I say that my current circumstances do not allow me to comment fully and frankly on a matter of this nature. But I must, at least, point out that one of the characteristic features of today’s struggle for progress and justice is the emergence in many parts of the world of men and women whose range of thought is universal, whose concern and efforts reach out to human beings on all continents, whose field of endeavour is the world itself. I consider the award to be an expression of that ecumenical concern, and I am greatly indebted to the association to whom I send my fondest regards and best wishes.