Item 1284 - Prepared speech by President Nelson Mandela about the transfer of the ANC Archives to the University of Fort Hare

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ZA COM MR-S-1284


Prepared speech by President Nelson Mandela about the transfer of the ANC Archives to the University of Fort Hare


  • 1996-03-17 (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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  • English

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Fort Hare is the oldest higher educational facility for blacks, not only in South Africa, but indeed on the Southern hemisphere.

Many of our present leaders in business, education, politics and the professions in general have passed through the corridors of this eminent university.

It is fitting indeed that our archives today pass into the care and custody of Fort Hare. The colonial history of South Africa is the history of the domination and exploitation of a racial minority over a racial majority. It is a history that records the implementation and effects of apartheid. Our history, thus far, has to a large extent imposed upon us the definitions of our oppressors who have moulded our image to justify their imperative, which was to dominate us and suppress our ambitions and aspirations.

This occasion, even more significantly, underlines the present-day efforts of redefinition and a pro-active stance. The commencement of transition to a democratic South Africa still eludes us. But we remain confident that together, we will achieve the aims of our common struggle.

South Africa's museums and monuments reflect the form and content of apartheid and our heritage resources therefore serve only to perpetuate the myths and horrors of this ideology.

These archives of the ANC represent the best of the aspirations of our people and our movement. Our history is one of defiance, organisation and struggle- built on a proud tradition of a rich, strong and dynamic culture. We have faith that Fort Hare will use them in the best interests of all the people of South Africa and give a profile to the new dispensation which we all ardently anticipate and which, with our active involvement, will soon come to fruition.

It is our conviction that during the process of transformation and reconstruction, archives, monuments and museums have an important role to play in promoting a national identity and pride in our common history.

It is a source of great joy to us that we mark this day in the presence of rectors from Norwegian universities. The contribution of the Nordic countries, including Norway, to our struggle is unsurpassed. This project serves to set a basis for further cooperation between our people in the field of higher education.

Ideally universities should be established, not as islands of esoteric learning but as sources of wisdom, assistance and vision for the communities from which they are born and which they serve. We are optimistic that the new South Africa will make way for greater and more meaningful inter-change, not only between the community and University but between the universities of the world.



Mandela was unable to attend the event held at the University of Fort Hare and therefore did not deliver this speech. He was represented by Thabo Mbeki. See for Mbeki's speech.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 25/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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