Item 1161 - Speech deliverd by Zenani Dlamini on behalf of her father CDE Nelson Mandela to the Board of Trustees of the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights

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ZA COM MR-S-1161


Speech deliverd by Zenani Dlamini on behalf of her father CDE Nelson Mandela to the Board of Trustees of the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights


  • 1993-03-12 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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

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ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare

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Inauguration of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights

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  • English

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Speech delivered by Zenani Dlamini on behalf of Mandela

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

In South Africa the call of health professionals and workers has been to establish health as a basic human right and to institute principles of application of health care services which would reach the most disadvantaged communities in that country.

The decision of the trustees of the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation to offer an award annually to both a South Africa and a citizen of the United States annually underscores the parallel link between race and poverty in both societies.

I believe that the award will highlight health as a basic human right and will serve as a vehicle by which access to health services in both societies can be addressed as an urgent issue.

Tonight is a singular honour for me because we are inaugurating an award for health and human rights in my name. Above all this honour is a triumph for the struggling people of South Africa whose courage determination and persistence has always been my motivation.

During our long years in prison we came to know of the unstinting support of the international community who came to recognise that apartheid, a crime against humanity was also a crime to uprooted.

It is in this context that today the Kaiser Foundation has also chosen to single out Professor Barbara Jordan in recognition of her life long dedication to the advancement of civil rights and racial justice in the United States, her personal dedication to improving health for disadvantaged people including eight years service on the board of trustees of the Kaiser Family Foundation and her particular personal concern for AIDS sufferers and the physically disabled.

Barbara Jordan was foremost among the Foundation trustees in advocating Foundation support for South Africans working to establish a new health system.

Barbara Jordan is well known in the United States for her valiant defence of the U.S. Constitution and the equal rights of citizens under the law.

In every respect she fulfils the criterion for receiving the award tonight and we have been honoured to find a recipient which sets a standard we all have to live up to.

She is a premier example of an African American who overcame racism and has achieved excellence as a woman, as a citizen of this great country and as an outstanding politician and scholar of law. Her achievements are an inspiration to all.

Here in the United States an era of renewal has begun after the election of President William Clinton.

The right to vote in the United States is a human right which is taken for granted, in a ritual that recurs in four year cycles. People have to be persuaded to exercise this right through voter registration drives. This elementary principle is still being struggled for in South Africa. Thousands have given their lives for it and there are still people serving prison sentences for having striven for it!

The fact is that Mandela, Sisulu, Tambo, Kathrada and millions of South Africans still cannot vote in South Africa despite the changes that have taken place.

The key institution of apartheid, the exclusion of the majority, on the basis of race, from the body politique is still a reality.

We therefore see this era of renewal in the United States as offering the opportunity for increasing the commitment of the citizens of this country to democracy and participation in the concept of creating good governance.

By the same token the resumption of the multi party talks in South Africa is renewal for our country too.

We have reached a point of forward motion again despite the fact that 1992 was politically very traumatic for the negotiation process in South Africa. The deadlock at CODESA II over key constitutional issues, such as the insistence by the government that the constitution should make room for a minority house with veto powers over the democratically elected national assembly.

The murder of innocent people at Boipatong and the involvement of the South African Security Forces in creating instability in the townships, the reluctance of De Klerk to correct the situation by banning lethal weapons of death and fencing off the hostels which were used as barracks for the killers.

The ANC and the democratic forces in South Africa are the custodians of the hopes of the oppressed people had and embarked on a campaign of mass action for peace and democracy which led to the government and the ANC signing a record of understanding and opened the door to bilateral talks which led the country back to multilateral talks. The National Party and its key allies have at times been reluctant participants in the process of negotiation for democratisation.

The democratic process can and will stay on course only because the democratic forces are willing to struggle for that.

The ANC has introduced the perspective of a Government of National Unity. We believe that this concept will ensure lasting peace in South Africa and will entrench the concept of multi party rule as a principle. To date South Africa has been governed by single parties and for over forty years has been a one party military and security controlled state. The ANC believes that any political party who can achieve up to 5% of the electoral vote should be given a space in the government. The ANC believes in the principle of inclusivity.

This is borne out of the need to develop a process of reconciliation in a country which has inherited the worst systemic violence against humanity.

Apartheid introduced divisions amongst South Africans based on race and class and entrenched these by legalising separation and racial hatred. Today this has manifested itself in a political struggle for power with race as an index of advantage and disadvantage, it has manifested itself in the creation of economically poor regions competing for livelihood with wealthy industrialised regions and the maldistribution of resources and economic opportunity. In South Africa the first world and third world are co-existing cheek by jowl. A government of the future must reflect the interests of all the people on the basis of proportional representation based on the will of the electorate.

The ANC regards reconstruction as a national priority, with a democratic constitution and an entrenched bill of rights which will guarantee a multi party democracy in which people enjoy freedom of association, speech and assembly and the right to change their government. We also believe in a strong right of the public to know what is done in their name and hence our advocacy for freedom of the press. Reconstruction must meet the needs of the people in both political and material terms. In political terms a government structure that ensures strong involvement at local and regional level and encourages equality of opportunity and promotion of a democratic public service ethos in the government and judiciary. We are in favour of an economic policy that will achieve economic growth and redistribution of our country’s resources. Many South Africans were dispossessed of their land by apartheid, this matter cannot go unresolved. The majority of the people of South Africa have a right to equal education, housing, health care, employment and this is not going to be achieved purely by government rhetoric but by a strong Government of National Unity pooling all its resources to achieve a realistic and achievable reconstruction programme.

The ANC regards democratic elections as the sine qua non of any programme for reconstruction.

To this end we have continued to engage all political parties including some far right wing organisations to move the process forward towards election.

The multilateral talks on the 5th and 6th of March were a testimony of arduous work and achievement of a commitment to having multilateral talks which will be decisive and which will achieve the establishment of an Interim Government of National Unity and set an election date for one person one vote democratic elections. An election will be the moment of truth for all of us.

It will illustrate to the forces of darkness who have been unleashing violence in our country that they cannot hold the movement toward democracy back. Violence in South Africa is the instrument of those who seek to derail progress towards democracy and is intended to undermine the human rights of every freedom seeking South African.

The lessons of Angola and Mozambique are legion, we are determined that they cannot be repeated in South Africa. We appeal to all citizens of the USA to ensure that the senseless carnage in Angola be stopped.

The senseless killings of children in Natal stands condemned by the ANC as naked terrorism to create an atmosphere of fear and apprehension.

The international community has a much more major role to fulfil in its stated solidarity efforts to bring about a non racial, united, non sexist and democratic South Africa. NGO’s and governments need to exert pressure for change which complements the struggles of the South African People.

It is necessary that we ask you to ensure that international embargoes on oil and arms and trade sanctions are maintained until a Government of National Unity is firmly in place.

We have carried the majority of South Africans with us despite the most intense hardships, but the reality that our victory is a victory for human rights and human decency and that our struggle is just has helped our people to accept the hardship with dignity and pride.

We also believe that the international community can play a major role in assisting South Africans who will be voting for the first time in their lives for a democratic government, to achieve this by making resources available for voter education that would aide in bringing about a free and fair general election.

We also see international monitoring of the transitional period as vital to ensure that we achieve our goal of a free South Africa. We ask this not for the ANC and its membership but for all South Africans.

In conclusion ladies and gentlemen, my father apologises for his absence here tonight. The process of negotiations in our country has reached a stage where all the leadership of our organisation is required to give their full attention to the process.

Thank you.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 18/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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