NELSON MANDELA'S ADDRESS TO THE
PEOPLE OF CAPE TOWN, GRAND PARADE,
ON THE OCCASION OF HIS
INAUGURATION AS STATE PRESIDENT, 9 MAY
the Diplomatic Corps,
we are entering a new era for our country and its people. Today we
celebrate not the victory of a party, but a victory for all the people
of South Africa.
country has arrived at a decision. Among all the parties that contested
the elections, the overwhelming majority of South Africans have
mandated the African National Congress to lead our country into the
future. The South Africa we have struggled for, in which all our
people, be they African, Coloured, Indian or White, regard themselves
as citizens of one nation is at hand.
it was history that ordained that it be here, at the Cape of Good Hope
that we should lay the foundation stone of our new nation. For it was
here at this Cape, over three countries ago, that there began the
fateful convergence of the peoples of Africa, Europe and Asia on these
was to this peninsula that the patriots, among them many princes and
scholars, of Indonesia were dragged in chains. It was on the sandy
plains of this peninsula that first battles of the epic wars of
resistance were fought.
we look out across Table Bay, the horizon is dominated by Robben
Island, whose infamy as a dungeon built to stifle the spirit of freedom
is as old as colonialism in South Africa. For three centuries that
island was seen as a place to which outcasts can be banished. The names
of those who were incarcerated on Robben Island is a roll call of
resistance fighters and democrats spanning over three centuries. If
indeed this is a Cape of Good Hope, that hope owes much to the spirit
of that legion of fighters and others of their calibre.
have fought for a democratic constitution since the 1880s. Ours has
been a quest for a constitution freely adopted by the people of South
Africa, reflecting their wishes and their aspirations. The struggle for
democracy has never been a matter pursued by one race, class, religious
community or gender among South Africans. In honouring those who fought
to see this day arrive, we honour the best sons and daughters of all
our people. We can count amongst them Africans, Coloureds, Whites,
Indians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews - all of them united by a
common vision of a better life for the people of this country.
was that vision that inspired us in 1923 when we adopted the first ever
Bill of Rights in this country. That same vision spurred us to put
forward the African Claims in 1946. It is also the founding principle
of the Freedom Charter we adopted as policy in 1955, which in its very
first lines, places before South Africa an inclusive basis for
the 1980s the African National Congress was still setting the pace,
being the first major political formation in South Africa to commit
itself firmly to a Bill of Rights, which we published in November 1990.
These milestones give concrete expression to what South Africa can
become. They speak of a constitutional, democratic, political order in
which, regardless of colour, gender, religion, political opinion or
sexual orientation, the law will provide for the equal protection of
project a democracy in which the government, whomever that government
may be, will be bound by a higher set of rules, embodied in a
constitution, and will not be able govern the country as it pleases.
is based on the majority principle. This is especially true in a
country such as ours where the vast majority have been systematically
denied their rights. At the same time, democracy also requires that the
rights of political and other minorities be safeguarded.
the political order we have established there will regular, open and
free elections, at all levels of government - central, provincial and
municipal. There shall also be a social order which respects completely
the culture, language and religious rights of all sections of our
society and the fundamental rights of the individual.
task at hand on will not be easy. But you have mandated us to change
South Africa from a country in which the majority lived with little
hope, to one in which they can live and work with dignity, with a sense
of self-esteem and confidence in the future. The cornerstone of
building a better life of opportunity, freedom and prosperity is the
Reconstruction and Development Programme.
needs unity of purpose. It needs in action. It requires us all to work
together to bring an end to division, an end to suspicion and build a
nation united in our diversity.
people of South Africa have spoken in these elections. They want
change! And change is what they will get. Our plan is to create jobs,
promote peace and reconciliation, and to guarantee freedom for all
South Africans. We will tackle the widespread poverty so pervasive
among the majority of our people. By encouraging investors and the
democratic state to support job creating projects in which
manufacturing will play a central role we will try to change our
country from a net exporter of raw material to one that exports
finished products through beneficiation.
government will devise policies that encourage and reward productive
enterprise among the disadvantaged communities - African, Coloured and
Indian. By easing credit conditions we can assist them to make inroads
into the productive and manufacturing spheres and breakout of the
small-scale distribution to which they are presently confined.
raise our country and its people from the morass of racism and
apartheid will require determination and effort. As a government, the
ANC will create a legal framework that will assist, rather than impede,
the awesome task of reconstruction and development of our battered
we are and shall remain fully committed to the spirit of a government
of national unity, we are determined to initiate and bring about the
change that our mandate from the people demands.
place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the
table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as
fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of
constructing a new order based on justice for all.
is the challenge that faces
all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will
African National Congress http://www.anc.org.za
STATEMENT OF THE
PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, NELSON MANDELA, AT HIS
INAUGURATION AS PRESIDENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA,
BUILDINGS, PRETORIA, 10 MAY 1994
Comrades and Friends
all of us do, by our presence here, and by our celebrations in other
parts of our country and the world, confer glory and hope to newborn
of the experience of and extraordinary human disaster that lasted too
long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.
daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South
African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice,
strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain
all our hopes for glorious life for all.
this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are
so well represented here today.
my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is
as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the
famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the
time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of
personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change.
are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green
and the flowers bloom.
spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland
explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw
our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it
spurned, outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely
because it has become the universal base of the pernicious ideology and
practice of racism and racial oppression.
the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us
back into its bosom, that we, who were outlaws no so long ago, have
today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the
world on our own soil.
thank all our distinguished international guests for having come to
take possession people of our country of what is, after all, a common
victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.
trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges
of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy.
deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their
political mass democratic, religious, women, youth, business,
traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this
conclusion. Not least among them is my Second Deputy President, the
Honourable F.W. de Klerk.
would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their
ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in securing our
first democratic elections and the transition to democracy, from
blood-thirsty forces which still refuse to see the light.
time for the healing of the wounds has come.
moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.
time to build is upon us.
have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves
to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty,
deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative
peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and
have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the
million of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the
society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able
to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their
inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with
itself and the world.
a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country, the new
Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency,
address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who
are currently serving terms of imprisonment.
dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and
the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their
lives so that we could be free.
dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.
are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the
people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of
a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist government.
understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.
know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.
must therefore act together as a united people, for national
reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
there be justice for all.
there be peace
there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
each know that for each that for each the body, the mind and the soul
have been freed to fulfil themselves.
never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again
experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of
being the skunk of the world.
sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
African National Congress http://www.anc.org.za