Item 1222 - President Nelson Mandela's Speech at the State Banquet Hosted in his Honour in Harare

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ZA COM MR-S-1222


President Nelson Mandela's Speech at the State Banquet Hosted in his Honour in Harare


  • 1994-08-25 (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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State Banquet Hosted in honour of Mr Mandela in Harare

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  • English

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Your Excellency President Robert Mugabe,
High Commissioners and Ambassadors,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am singularly honoured by your invitation to pay an official visit to your country, and to officiate at the opening of the annual Agricultural Show in Harare.
My visit here, Your Excellency, coming hard on the heels of your recent visit to South Africa, reinforces our common desire to strengthen relations between our two countries.
This is in itself natural. Our countries share a common background. We share the same aspirations for our people and our sub-continent. We are neighbours and we are friends.
As a matter of fact, it has not even been a full week since I bid you farewell in Cape Town. And since then, much has transpired. We had to meet earlier this week in Gaborone and today in Pretoria to try and find a lasting solution to the crisis in Lesotho. Our discussions today with both King Letsie and Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle have already gone a long way in achieving this objective.

You will agree with me, Mr President, that we have in the last while spent more time in one another's company, than members of the same family sometimes do.
The problem of the larger family of nations in Southern Africa should, however, be our greatest concern. In this regard, we are privileged that, with your wealth of experience, you are playing a leading role in attending to these matters.
Both our governments are agreed that democracy, commitment to human rights, peace and stability are crucial if our region is to come of its own. We are committed to jointly promoting these ideals. And where conflict rears its ugly head within and among nations, we both share the firm view that dialogue and negotiation are the most preferable ways of resolving such problems.
Your Excellency,
I visited your country on several occasions during the protracted negotiations within our own country. In our meetings, we shared with you the many hopes and aspirations that our people had. It was clear then, as it had been during the many years of bitter struggle and sacrifice, that the people of Zimbabwe were prepared to contribute whatever they could to the liberation of our country.
Today, I have come on the first official visit to Zimbabwe, since the installation of a democratic government in South Africa. For all your efforts in support of our cause, I wish to express our profound gratitude. The sacrifices were not in vain. Africa is at last free from the bondage of colonial domination!

Ladies and Gentlemen,
All our neighbours in Southern Africa are united behind the efforts to ensure that our region occupies its rightful place both in Africa and in the world community of nations. There is no doubt about the potential that we possess. The challenge is ours to ensure that we turn this potential into a real economic and political force.
Our ability to achieve this, including attracting overseas investment and favourable terms of trade, depend on the extent to which we attain peace and stability in the region as a whole. South Africa will play its part in this endeavour, as part of the collective represented by SADC, COMESA and other multi-lateral bodies.
We are convinced that the strengthening of relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe will reinforce our efforts for a better quality of life for our peoples. But beyond this, it should also help consolidate inter-regional co-operation.
Zimbabwe, Mr President, has already announced the appointment of its High Commissioner in South Africa. We will soon do the same.
Our participation in this year's Agricultural Show in Harare is a token of the close relations our countries are starting to build. I will have the opportunity to visit our stand and others at the show-grounds tomorrow.
The bilateral discussions between our respective Ministers initiated during your visit should in the near future result in agreements in matters such as trade, immigration and visas, tourism, health, security, agriculture and other fields of mutual endeavour.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We in South Africa are proud of the fact that, as a nation, we have succeeded in coming to terms with our problems with a fair measure of success. Our Government of National Unity has brought together adversaries into a constructive relationship. Our parliament and cabinet are functioning well, and they have focused most of their efforts on the task of reconstruction and development.
In addition, the spirit of reconciliation abroad in our land augurs well for the future of our country. This is not to say that differences among diverse interest groups have disappeared. Rather, these differences continue to express themselves openly and in a democratic manner. The overriding consideration is that there is national consensus on the major questions facing the country, primary among which is to improve the conditions, particularly, of the poor.
We are reinforced in these efforts by the lessons that we continue to draw from the successful transition to fully- fledged democracy here in Zimbabwe. And we are convinced that the building of strong ties between our two nations will give a spur to our efforts to improve the conditions of our peoples.
Mr President,

I wish to thank you once more for your kind invitation, for the welcome accorded us, as well as the privilege to take part in the agricultural show. May Zimbabwe continue to register progress in her development efforts.
I now ask you, Ladies and Gentlemen, to rise and to raise your glasses in a toast to the continued good relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa, and to the good health of His Excellency, President Robert Mugabe.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 21/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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