Mr and Mrs de Klerk, members of the Board of the FW de Klerk Foundation and all esteemed guests present –
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to stand in front of you tonight to receive, on behalf of Studietrust, the FW DE KLERK GOODWILL AWARD for 2013.
It is indeed a great honour for us to be recognized in this very special way for the work that we’ve been privileged to do through Studietrust over the last 39 years. Momentous years. Years of bitter conflict, struggle and devastation… but also of opportunity and change! For Studietrust the opportunity to identify and recognize potential, youth potential, crying for affirmation instead of denial, for acceptance instead of rejection, for an open door towards education, development and fulfillment instead of a life of frustration and failure…
The power of potential! The excitement, the challenge… the opportunity for life-changing intervention.
Potential where many might normally not look for it. In distant rural villages, among scattered communities, in urban shacks, impoverished and disadvantaged in multiple ways… What a discovery, time and again, when during the annual selection, screening thousands of application forms, you come across these able candidates, young people with no money but, with hope!... óften with exceptional talent and potential … álways with single-minded drive and determination, desperately in search of opportunity.
And then the magic of engagement. OUR opportunity syncs with THEIR’s… to our mutual amazement. Thousands of letters from our students spoke about this way back already in the dark seventies, the eighties, the nineties through to the present.
The FW de Klerk Goodwill Award inspires us to continue reaching out to young people… to assist as many as possible with money and mentoring… offsetting some of our sadness for too many young people still passed by by opportunity… so aptly described in the sad words of the Bengali poet, Tagore: the song I came to sing remains unsung.
Hence our unfinished task. Our vow to continue pushing forward…
Mr de Klerk, FW, you are aware of the high regard I have for the crucial role you played when you seized your kairos opportunity to steer SA away from disaster onto a road of hope for all. Tonight is a crowning moment in our acquaintanceship of more than 50 years for which I’m deeply grateful.
My personal thanks also to my friend, Mike Morapeli, the patron of Studietrust, to my inspired successor, Murray Hofmeyr, together with Studietrust’s staff, board members, donors and private sector partners, who over the years supported Studietrust in its urgent goodwill quest to give young people a new song to sing. A song of empowerment, achievement and dedication to follow our dream, so passionately shared with you Mr de Klerk, for a truly new South Africa with mutual respect among all of us working in unity to counter the many threats to our constitution and to unlock and realize the great potential of this land, especially of its young people.
I thank you.
Jan M Hofmeyr.
2 February 2013