Item 1358 - Speech delivered by President Nelson Mandela to the President's 100 Club in Cape Town

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ZA COM MR-S-1358


Speech delivered by President Nelson Mandela to the President's 100 Club in Cape Town


  • 1990-01-01 - 1999-12-31 (c1990s)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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President's 100 Club

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  • English

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Chairperson Friends and Compatriots,

I wish firstly to express my profound and heartfelt appreciation to the President’s 100 Club for the tremendous work they are doing towards advancing affirmative action which is positively biased in favour of women.

I also thank you for affording me this opportunity of addressing you here today. I believe that a great future lies within reach of our country. That future will depend on how we are able to find together the solutions to the multitude of problems that apartheid has created in this country and we must now take into account the full involvement of women in every facet of our lives. The ANC is very concerned about the absence of women in the decision making bodies of this country and we believe that this diminishes democracy considerably.

Our organisation is addressing this question very seriously and with the intention of instituting political guarantees which will not only encourage women to participate more fully, but will ensure that traditional and cultural norms do not hinder the right of women to be productive in shaping this country into the powerful force it will be once there is a truly democratic, non racial, non-sexist and united South Africa.

Political statements and organisational resolutions are not enough to ensure the vital participation of women, the unity of women in this country around the question of affirmative action will do more to make it a reality than men talking about including women. I believe that we are all faced with very serious challenges. One challenge that I would like to place before this gathering is the question of the development of women, we welcome the work you are already doing, as heads of your own companies and editors of major magazines or leaders in your profession you are already advancing the development of women. But we all need to go beyond advancing one sector of our society only. We must all take responsibility for advancing the skills and hence the involvement in every sphere of the vast majority of women, the black South African women.

We have been part of a very turbulent and violent political history in this country, one which was determined by the existence of two divergent nationalisms. These two, African and Afrikaner nationalism, embody fundamentally different perspectives on the character and the future of our country, the contest was bound to be both heated and brutal. Women have been a part of that history and must be an integral and vital part of the process which lays the basis for an end to at least the more violent aspects of that contest.

CODESA has been for us an embodiment of the commitment that the political parties in this country have towards shaping a democratic society at the same time the progress we have made in CODESA thus far is a clear indication that the gap between black and white people in this country is narrowing. It requires courage and vision on the part of the political leaders in this country to see the distance through. We must move as quickly and as painlessly as possible towards the goal of a country that is free and at peace with itself and its neighbours.

We are concerned about the desire of the government to hold a referendum to consolidate white opinion at this stage of our deliberations. It could be interpreted as the government saying that the process is reversible if the white people reject the CODESA declaration and the entire process of shifting from white minority rule to a democratic state, ruled by the party with the mandate of the majority and based on the concept of multi party democracy. Our organisation is very firm in its resolve to continue along a road that will achieve certain universally accepted principles that form the basis of modern human rights culture.

The governments must derive their authority from the consent of the governed. No person or group of persons should be subjected to oppression, domination or discrimination by virtue of his or her race, gender or religious beliefs. All persons should have the right to freedom of speech and assembly all persons should enjoy the right to life, unfettered by impositions from either the secular or clerical authorities.

The ANC has seen the great loss of life that the recent spate of violence has caused in this country as one of the greatest tragedies of our time, one in which our history will most certainly question the cause of. Human beings have been reduced to cannon fodder in a bid to undermine the political rights and freedom to organise of political parties. In this situation no one is the winner and the only losers are the people themselves. We believe that it is the responsibility of the government and the various political organisations to find solutions to end the violence. We cannot look for any more cryptic words and sentences to reduce a horrific reality to black on black violence. The emergence of the white right wing is another manifestation of the legacies of apartheid and I can only say to the groups of people who are leaving themselves out of the process of talking at CODESA, history will not thank you for your absence, when your presence could strengthen our unity.

The impending political transformation of South Africa is part of the truly phenomenal process of renewal which our planet is experiencing. The features of this process are clear enough. It does mean the end to white minority dictatorships and the building of a new nation of many colours, languages and cultures bound together by a common South African patriotism, a shared spirit of nationhood and bonds of mutual dependence.

We face many problems. The present drought threatens to diminish our food reserves to the extent that livestock will not have enough feed in the winter. Food prices will no doubt spiral to unaffordable heights and the result will be the death of the poorest people in this country. We have an education system which is chaotic and still uneven in its implementation, we have an unemployment rate which is causing crime to spiral. We cannot afford the luxury of going backwards.



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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 28/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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