I was 9 years old when Nelson Mandela was sent to prison on Robben Island. As a boy, I learned about him in school, and I remember seeing reports about the anti-Apartheid movement on the evening news. Decades later, I got to meet him and work with him. In person he was even more inspiring than I had imagined. His humility and courage left an impression that I will never forget.
So it was a special honor to be invited to give the Nelson Mandela Lecture in Pretoria, South Africa. I eagerly accepted the invitation and quickly began working on my remarks.
I decided to share my optimism about Africa’s future—to explain why I think the continent has the potential to change faster in the next generation than any continent ever has.