Item 1315 - Notes for a speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Launch of the illustrated Long Walk To Freedom

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ZA COM MR-S-1315


Notes for a speech by President Nelson Mandela at the Launch of the illustrated Long Walk To Freedom


  • 1996-11-04 (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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Launch of the Illustrated Long Walk to Freedom

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  • English

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Members of the Gauteng Provincial Executive;
East Rand Mayors;
Boksburg Councillors;
Members of the Reiger Park community;
Representatives of MacDonald Purnell;

It is a great joy to be here, as a guest of the Reiger Park community, and amongst so many of those who have been elected by the people of the Province and the East Rand to work with them for a better life.

Reiger Park's history of struggle

1.Toe Reiger Park in 1964 'n Kleurling-Groesgebied word, het ek al my kwart-eeu in die tronk begin.

2.Soos ander Groepsgebiede en Townships is dit geskep in die geloof dat as mense gedwing word om apart te lewe, apart te studeer, apart te werk en apart te speel, hulle nooit sou saamstaan om onderdrukking uit te daag en te beveg nie

3.Maar Reiger Park, soos soveel ander gemeenskappe, het die dwase opvatting van die apartheids-beplanners help verkeerd bewys. Weerstand gekoppel met 'n toewyding tot eenheid, het van hierdie gemeenskap 'n onafskeidbare deel van ons vryheidstryd gemaak -

deur hul stryd vir meer huise in 1981;

hul bydrae tot die stigting van die UDF;

en hul veld-tog saam met die gemeenskap van Vosloorus in 1988 om Boksburg te red van die misplaaste pogings om die be-eindiging van apartheid te keer.

3. Die kiesers van hierdie gemeenskap het help toe-sien dat Boksburg vandag 'n Stadsraad het wat ferm staan in hul ondersteuning van die Regering se planne vir die heropbou en ontwikkleing van ons land en sy mense.

4.Reiger Park dien as 'n skitterende voorbeeld daarvan dat die politiek van vrees en verdeling op die lange duur nie slaag nie; dat dit nie 'n gemeenskap kon weerhou om ten volle 'n gelyke vennoot te word in die bou van demokrasie en die skepping van 'n beter lewe vir alma!.

5.Dit is vir my 'n besondere groot eer om u gas te mag wees vandag

Boksburg and East Rand in our struggle

1.When I came to Reiger Park in 1990, a few months after being released from prison, it was to receive the Freedom of Boksburg from the people's organisations of the town. They were not waiting for democratic local government before declaring their commitment to a non-racial and united Boksburg.

2. Now Boksburg has a democratically-elected Council, and I look forward, when my schedule permits, to receiving that honour officially.

3. I look forward to it because of Boksburg's inspiring contribution to our struggle for freedom. In 1952 the Boksburg location, as it was known, was one of the starting points for the Defiance Campaign. And in 1988, Boksburg saw some of the most stirring actions of the new Defiance Campaign that signalled the crumbling of apartheid.

4.Such unwavering commitment to the building of a new nation is typical of the East Rand. This concentration of mining, manufacturing and commercial activity is one of the driving forces of our nation, economically and politically.

5. It was here that the apartheid regime met one of the rocks which wrecked it. In your factories and the schools; in your townships and group areas; amongst trade unions, student organisations and community associations, the many forces of popular resistance came together to swell the unstoppable force for freedom in our land.

South Africa freed by its people

I. Without your struggle the prison doors would still be closed.

2. Across the decades and in every region of our country, this unity of the oppressed - African, Coloured and Indian - together with democratic forces amongst the White community - nurtured our future Rainbow Nation through the darkest years.

3. We can gather here as free citizens of a united nation - political leaders; community leaders; democratically elected mayors and publishers of a history of struggle - because ordinary people in countless communities across our land were determined to be free.

4.Such are the reasons for choosing a place like Reiger Park for today's launch. Mine is the story of one person's part in the struggle for freedom in South Africa. There are many, many such stories to be told.


1. Defiance had its price.

2. This is not an occasion to recall the long history of repression that afflicted the East Rand along with the rest of our country, or to detail apartheid's reign of terror through the 1970s and 1980s. Nor is it a time to rehearse the last desperate attempts in the 1990s to forestall democracy, almost plunging the area and our nation into war, or the cruel assassination that robbed us of our beloved comrade Chris Hani.

3. We will surely be reminded of these things when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds its hearings in this area, as part of its mission to heal our nation.

Achievements in addressing the past legacy

1. Suffice it to say that in surviving such an inhuman onslaught, and in the manner it is using freedom to address the legacy of that past, the East Rand also sets our nation an example.

2.We think, for example, of

the Katorus Project for Urban Renewal, a showpiece of reconstruction and development;

progress in building co-operation between police and communities to combat crime;

and bold and imaginative initiatives to undo the tensions apartheid created between hostel-dwellers and others.

3.In such ways the people of the East Rand - communities, business, labour and other sectors - are joining hands with government in a partnership to build a better life for all.

Today's challenges

I .But our pride in what has been achieved does not subtract from the knowledge that we are confronted by even greater challenges than before.

2. We know that if we are to improve living conditions through economic growth and our programme of reconstruction and development, then there are problems we must urgently deal with.

3.The message that criminals have no place in our communities must be given teeth by active co-operation with the police. Those who know the identity of someone who has committed a crime - an ordinary criminal, a gangster, a corrupt official or member of the police - should make sure that the police get that information. If we fail to do this we help the criminals. The police are now partners in pursuit of safety and security.

4.We need to ensure housing and services are paid for. The reality is that if we do not pay for them, the finance will dry up. We will be unable to provide them to those who still lack them, or to maintain and improve existing services. National government can finance only the most basic level of services - beyond that communities and their local authorities are responsible for the resources and for finding solutions to problems.

5. We have won the right for all to have a proper education. All of us, teachers, parents and pupils must make our schools places where our young people can acquire the knowledge and skills our nation needs for economic growth.

The struggle for freedom from poverty

1. Surely those who have shown such determination and commitment over decades, whose capacity to organise and unify helped us across the threshold to democracy, can find answers to these challenges.

2.Now that we have gained our freedom from oppression, we need the same strengths in a new struggle - the struggle to free our people from poverty.



Part of speech is in Afrikaans

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 26/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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