Item 1286 - Address by President Mandela at the Celebration of Tweede Nuwejaar in Cape Town

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ZA COM MR-S-1286


Address by President Mandela at the Celebration of Tweede Nuwejaar in Cape Town


  • 1996-01-02 (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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Celebration of Tweede Nuwejaar

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  • English

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Dear friends,

Today is a very important day on the South African calendar. The celebration of the Tweede Nuwe Jaar is one of the oldest traditional celebrations in our country and I am honoured that you have invited me to attend.

I also know that what I see today is the result of many, many months of hard work. Many of you have been making costumes and practising day and night for this occasion. And I think South Africa should thank all of you here today for us this very important festival .. this rich addition to the many important traditions in our rainbow nation.

For many years, while I was on Robbers Island - so close to this festival- I wondered whether I would ever be able to share it with you. That is why I was determined to break my holiday to make a special effort to be here with you today.

I know that this is a festival that takes place only in the Cape. Ana I know that it has its roots in the history of the Cape Colony. It must remind us, therefore, of all the many people who met in this part of the world for the first time. Of the Khoisan, (called by the derogatory name of Hottentots by the settlers) ....people who have lived in these parts since the dawn of history. Of the slaves who were brought here from Africa and the East. Of the men and women of Islam who built our Muslim community. And of the Africans who migrated across the land and the settlers who migrated across the seas.

Each one of these people has made their own contribution to the land we call South Africa. Each has a culture that has made our shared culture one of the richest and one of the most diverse the world has ever seen.

But there has been terrible oppression. And for more than three hundred years, oppression has divided our people from one another. Last year, for the first time, we all vote for the first time and we all voted for democracy. We voted for an end to racism, an end to divisions .We voted for reconciliation and for unity.

When I attended the World- Cup at Ellis Park earlier this year, I attended another kind of South African cultural celebration
a celebration that many knew only as a celebration of oppression. Many of us even went to Newlands to boo the South African team. But we took this celebration and we turned it into a South African celebration. Now, instead of being a game that divides us, it has become something we can all be proud of.

I and many others have committed ourselves to building a new society - a united and reconciled society that lives in peace with itself I have just been on a visit to the Cape rural areas and I was overwhelmed by the support that I received from
Coloured people for this vision. But a new society needs the support of all its people and I need your support to make this vision a reality throughout our many communities.

If we are truly to build this vision , we must do more than respect each others traditions, each others languages and customs. We must understand that these traditions; languages, and customs are part or the richness of our society. They our identity, our pride, our special gift to the family of nations. We are the rainbow nation unique in the world for our diversity and the richness of our shared future.

This is why we must work together for this future. We must ensure that never again will we allow oppression to dominate our lives. We must put racism and divisions behind us and we must share a vision of a united and reconciled society.

As I look at you all today, I feel a great emotion and a great pride I am proud to be part of a nation that can produce a celebration such as this. I am proud of the creativity, the hard work and the sense of tradition that has brought you all here today.

This is truly a rainbow display. A rich part of the inheritance not only of the Coloured community… not only of the Cape and its history .. But of our entire rainbow nation.

I salute you all.

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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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