Item 1223 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show

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ZA COM MR-S-1223


Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show


  • 1994-08-26 (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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Zimbabwe Agricultural Show

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  • English

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Your Excellency, President Robert Mugabe,
Honourable Ministers,
Members of the Zimbabwean farming community, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my greatest pleasure today to share views with the agricultural community of Zimbabwe.
Our two countries have a common agricultural history rooted in our colonial past. This was characterised by dispossession as well as the attendant conflict that this engendered. Yet, before this period, our peoples interacted across rivers and mountains as one; guided by their humanness and desire to conquer nature for the benefit of their communities.
We have at last reclaimed our countries as free nations, united across racial and other differences.
There are few better ways to show one's love for one's country and the well-being of one's nation than by working on the soil. Such is the significance of this agricultural show and others before it.
Our common history and current reality present us with the opportunity and obligation to learn from one another.

Fate has made us neighbours, and nature has exposed us to her common blessings and hazards. We are both subject to the same macro-climate, characterised by rains in summer and dry winters. On the other hand, our rainfall is often low and erratic, with frequent devastating droughts. We share similar soil and natural vegetation types, a very large proportion of which is not suited to extensive cultivation.
Our countries are endowed with an abundance of wild life species and indigenous livestock breeds which are well- adapted to these climatic conditions. However, there are common problems of livestock and plant diseases.
All these factors underline the need for us to co-operate in nurturing and taking advantage of the positive attributes we share, while devising long-term solutions to deal with the difficult areas.
Zimbabwe has already made giant strides in dealing with the fundamental problem of distortions in the ownership and use of land. South Africa is keenly interested in your experiences, as we commence the difficult task of reconstruction and development.
Our basic challenge in the field of agriculture is to develop rural communities in order to enhance household incomes, national food security and, broadly, to improve the quality of life in a sustainable manner.
This requires a will to transform relationships to land and agriculture, to broaden access to land and empower farming communities previously dispossessed by apartheid. It is our responsibility to ensure that food is attainable for all our people - poor and rich.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The success of Zimbabwe's commercial agricultural sector, and the critical contribution of the developing small-scale farming sector, is largely due to hard work, the rational utilisation of resources and development of requisite infrastructure.
Much of your achievements can be seen at this excellent annual show of the Zimbabwean Agricultural Society: in the form of well-bred and well-groomed livestock, seed, grains and horticultural products, machinery and implements. I wish to congratulate the farming community for your enthusiasm, sense of togetherness and commitment to your country.
Our own country, South Africa, also has a developed agricultural industry. The Agricultural Research Council, a semi-autonomous state-sponsored body plays a crucial role in this regard. The irony however is that the benefits of such research have not been shared equally by all sectors of our population. They have not benefited peoples of the sub region.
This has to change. The advanced technology available needs to be adapted to suit local conditions, meet community needs and make creative use of latent indigenous information and experience.
Our overall objective is to develop the agricultural sector in such a way that it embodies the values of our reconstruction and development programme and the dictates of equity. This is urgent because agriculture forms an important part of our economy.
To achieve this, we have to ensure the necessary conditions for the commercial sector to thrive. This should include the improvement of the working conditions of millions of farm- workers. We also have to intensify the programme to resettle or compensate those who were unjustly dispossessed; distribute available state land among deprived communities; and assist small-scale farmers to set themselves up and prosper.
All this is part of a comprehensive rural development programme which includes industrial strategies, employment-creation, gender equality as well as democratic local government. Healthy relations and stability among rural communities depends on the success of this programme.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the past, political constraints made normal relations between our two countries impossible. Now the vistas are open for the rapid development of multi-faceted cooperation.
I am pleased to note that, in the area of agriculture too, government officials, academics and other experts from South Africa and Zimbabwe are already meeting and forming teams to exchange knowledge and jointly address difficulties. This is urgently required in areas of research, development of human resources and relevant trade arrangements.

The recent visit to South Africa by Your Excellency, President Mugabe, has gone a long way in consolidating the bonds between our two countries. The agreements that have been signed, and the new ones being finalised, will bring our two nations even closer.
Together, through the Southern African Development Community and other institutions, we are committed to contribute to the development of the sub-continent as a whole. We also stand to gain from such co-operation, including major projects such as the proposed power pool, harnessing of water resources, and development of transportation and harbour facilities.
Zimbabwe and South Africa are also at one, that socioeconomic development can succeed only if it is underpinned by democracy, peace and stability within and among nations of our region. It is in this context that we are working together to promote the peace processes in Angola and Mozambique. We have also decided to take urgent measures to resolve the unfortunate crisis in Lesotho.
Your Excellency, Mr President,
I once more thank you most humbly for the warm welcome you have accorded us in Zimbabwe and particularly at this agricultural show. Together, we have started on the road to comprehensive mutually-beneficial co-operation. We are confident that this will grow from strength to strength. Together, we have it in our power to achieve our common objectives.

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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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