Item 138 - Statement of the President of the African National Congress, Nelson R Mandela, on the occasion of the opening of the Cultural Development Congress at the Civic Theatre

Identity area

Reference code

ZA COM MR-S-138

Title

Statement of the President of the African National Congress, Nelson R Mandela, on the occasion of the opening of the Cultural Development Congress at the Civic Theatre

Date(s)

  • 1993-04-25 (Creation)

Level of description

Item

Extent and medium

Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

Context area

Name of creator

(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

Biographical history

Archival history

Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Opening of the Cultural Development Congress

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

TRANSCRIPT

Compatriots and comrades in the struggle for democracy,
Friends of the people of South Africa,
Arts and cultural practitioners from all over the world,
Distinguished guests,

Before the messages of condolence have even stopped pouring in, to console us on the assassination of our beloved Comrade Chris Hani, we have now been dealt another blow with the loss of our beloved National Chairman, my brother and friend, Oliver Tambo. Please stand for a moment of silence as we salute him.

At this time I can only say that I am bereft because I have lost my dearest brother and lifelong friend. We grieve deeply for his family and for the terrible loss to this country. Our strategist has left us as we approach the goals he set for us, but his spirit is embodied in all our work.

Oliver Tambo believed in the efficacy of culture to make us whole and to give us a richer quality of life. The ANC's policies on the arts and culture stemmed to a large extent, from his vision, understanding and initiative, ANC choirs internationally, the Amandla cultural ensemble, the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College, and even the ANC logo emerged from his inspiration.

During this coming week you will be involved in deliberations to examine and explore the cultural possibilities in a democratic South Africa, which is yet in embryo. Your task will be to look at ways in which this torn country can be reconstructed in part through the rich threads of culture.

Through the destructive and violent legacy of apartheid, where the sanctity of life has no meaning, we have inherited the culture of death and destruction. To the White minority regime, torture, detention, carnage, and massacre were the principal weapons used to keep it in power. Dispossession and displacement, grief and anger have become the accepted hallmarks of our existence.

It is our hope and fervent belief that the universal language of culture will show us ways in which to transform and heal the consciousness of all our people. Let it be said here that throughout these long years of bitter struggle our compatriots have sustained an amazing degree of humanity. Their courage and tolerance, and their resilience have been, in themselves, attributes derived from the culture of liberation.

During the worst years of repression, when all avenues of legitimate protest were closed by emergency legislation, it was the arts that articulated the plight and the democratic aspirations of our people. This affirmation was demonstrated through drama, dance, literature, song, film, paintings and sculpture that defined the silence that apartheid sought to impose. The secret of apartheid was revealed universally, and severely condemned by the world at large. It was the Cultural Boycott that became one of the most effective weapons in isolating racist South Africa.

We thank the international cultural community for their solidarity, and for the pressures that they exercised, sometimes at great personal loss. It is also a fact that during those long years many of our own artists were trained and nurtured abroad through the offices of some of you here.

We believe that the links that were forged during the period of enforced exile and imprisonment will continue to serve as a source of mutual inspiration for all of us in the future.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing any nation in transition is to move from protest, defiance and resistance to building and reconstruction. Similarly, in our own case, we have to move from slogans and rhetoric to constructive and concrete programmes that will actually engage our beleaguered people, black and white.

We are fortunate in the diversity of our nation, and it is through cultural cross fertilization that we can transcend the differences that apartheid has sought to exploit. We must empower our people through programmes of education and literacy through the vehicle of culture, so that we can all begin to share and understand our richness and diversity. We must also encourage the return to centre stage of all those powerful indigenous arts that were usurped by metropolitan cultures.

The ANC's Department of Arts and Culture, during its many years in exile, has institutionalised a mode of cultural consultation in its broadest sense

Note

EDITORIAL CHANGES
Paragraph beginning: "
During this coming week you will be involved in deliberations to examine and explore the cultural possibilities inn a democratic South Africa, which is yet in embryo."
Changes made: "inn" changed to "in"

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 10/11/06 by Helen Joannides

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres