Item 1398 - Speech by Mandela- Soccer League 1991

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ZA COM MR-S-1398


Speech by Mandela- Soccer League 1991


  • 1991-01-01 - 1991-12-31 (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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... to wish you well in your deliberations as well as the endeavours which have gone into creating a single non-racial controlling body in soccer. I have followed developments around the unity talks with great interest. The various people who participated in those talks, showed considerable foresight in resolving the many thorny issues which you faced in the talks.
The unity in soccer, which has begun to take shape, will forever be a reminder of the high quality of leadership we have in our soccer fraternity. The many trying times which lie ahead will no doubt be approached with the same resolve and clarity of purpose that you have already displayed. Again, I wish you well in all your endeavours in the future.
The unity which you have created in soccer is particularly exciting to us be because it shares an important vision we have cherished for a long time. That vision is of the creation of a non-racial, united and democratic future. The responsibility of creating that future must, as you have demonstrated, be a shared one. One guaranteed way of failure in our mission is to leave all responsibilities exclusively to political leadership and organisations. It is for this reason, that we supported the endeavours of all men and women, in any sector of our society, who strive to bring about the non-racial and democratic goal we all so desire.
It is not merely in politics that we need to work towards that goal, as you also have amply demonstrated, we need men and women of the highest... We must in our chosen fields of involvement, throw ourselves into the fray with the same tenacity you have displayed in striving for a united, non-racial soccer controlling body. More important, however, is to translate the dream of a new, of a non-racial, free society into a programme which structures and informs the lives of the people in all walks of life.
Non-racialism in soccer will be devoid of many unless it can be made immediate on a daily basis to the unknown youngster in the most far-flung corner of our country. In concrete terms, this means all the achievements which have been made in the soccer fraternity must benefit all our youngsters who face a bleak future because of lack of proper training facilities and guidance. You can make the dreams of all our youth come true by steadfastly ensuring their exposure to the best of what is available in soccer. Make resources available to the many fine players in the league to visit rural areas and townships of our country, so that they can meet and impart their skills to the youth, expose the youth to the achievements of international experience through the many videos of numerous memorable international matches.
As such, for re-entry into international competition must be premised on the adequate provision of suitable facilities for all in this country. Leaders in soccer have a responsibility in this regard. The resources which soccer seems able to mobilise could perhaps be channelled towards alleviating some of the problems of poor facilities facing our youth in the amateur ranks.
The National Soccer League stands as a monumental reminder, both to South Africa and the world, of what can be achieved by men and women in our country, who are not hemmed in by considerations of apartheid. It is because the NSL has driven to provide a home for soccer followers, both black and white, that it has achieved as much as it has done.
I wish to assure you, that we in the ANC understand that you are in a hurry to compete with your counterparts internationally. Not only do we understand it, we are also doing whatever we can to expedite the process of negotiations in the country. As you are no doubt aware, we are of the opinion that there never was an acceptable reason for apartheid to have been implemented in the first place. That reason does not exist now. We are ready for non-racialism now. As far as we are concerned, the political situation must be resolved speedily to ensure that you can compete with all in the world and carry with you the pride of being free men and women in the country of your birth, charged by merit, and nothing else.
The sooner all impediments to negotiations are removed, the better for the entire country. Of the remaining obstacles, namely, that all political prisoners must be out of prison, all exiles must be allowed to return home, and security legislation, which in any way hinders open political activity, must be removed to clear the way for negotiations. In addition, we have called an all party congress which should sit as soon as all these remaining hurdles have been satisfactorily dealt with by the government. It is our hope, that that congress will focus its attention on a great deal of the key questions of the day and set a basis for the transition leading to a new political order.
The recent announcement by Mr. De Klerk in which he committed himself and his government to removing additional apartheid measures are welcome. His position does begin to give us more, that apartheid is in its entirety will soon be of academic interest to historians rather than a system which structures people’s lives on a daily basis. However, while we acknowledge these moves as positive, we also must emphasize that apartheid lives on. We still have in South Africa a situation in access in which in excess of 70 percent of the population is without a vote.
It is unacceptable in the last decade of the 20th century to still have people fighting for a franchise in the country of their own birth. This is the message we would like people to understand, particularly those abroad who think the time for rewarding the government has come. It is for this reason that we are of the opinion that existing measures imposed on South Africa be maintained for a while presently.
We have been criticised for our lack of proper response to the measures announced by Mr De Klerk. We have no doubt that many people who feel that we have not been sufficiently forthcoming in welcoming the measures which have been announced by Mr De Klerk, that in this regard we are open to criticism.
The problem in this country, as we have pointed out on other occasions, is that there are different perceptions in regard to precisely the same issue depending on the population group to which you belong. To whites, the measures which Mr De Klerk has introduced are very important, are very revolutionary. And we generally commend Mr De Klerk for having brought about these changes and we understand why the whites in the country feel that these are very important measures. But you must at the same time put yourself in our shoes. We live in Soweto, in Gugulethu, in KwaMashu, in Mamelodi, in Botshabelo and the question that is being asked, for example, in regard to the repeal of the Land Act or the Group Areas Act, is: “Why must I be excited about these measures? I have not got the resources, the capital to take advantage of the repeal of this legislation. What use is it to me?”
Whether you like it or not, the fact that you are dealing with a community which has no resources and the fact that the measures that have been taken by Mr De Klerk in this regard will because one population group has the monopoly of the resources of the country, it means that they are in a better position. They have got a better capacity to take advantage of the measures announced by the government. You must understand the problem from both sides. And what is even more important as a liberation movement, we are not called upon to thank Mr De Klerk for repealing legislation and reviewing measures which are regarded by the world over, and ourselves of course, as a crime against humanity.
There never was reason for the Land Act, for the Group Areas Act, for the Population Registration Act. Why do you want us to be thankful for these measures? Nevertheless, we in the ANC have taken the initiative to rally the whole country around the question of peace. We spent four full years persuading the government to sit down with us and talk. We said to them, what is the point of us killing one another, when we as South Africans could sit down and talk, peacefully. And in spite of humiliation and insults, the humiliating conditions which the government wanted us to comply with, before they could talk with us, we had the patience to endure everything and eventually convince them that the best way to resolve our problems was for us as South Africans to sit down and talk.
You will also see from the first delegations that we sent to Groote Schuur, the sharp difference which exists between ourselves on the one hand and the government on the other. Each delegation had eleven members. The delegation of the ANC had all population groups represented: Africans, Coloureds, Indians, Whites. Among the whites, there was an Afrikaner. It was not a male delegation, it was a delegation which had all sexes, black and white. What a sharp distinction between our delegation and that of the government. The government delegation was a male Afrikaner delegation. There was not any other group of the white population . It was a delegation of the Afrikaners.
It is the Afrikaners in this country, not the whites as such, who dominate the political institutions of the country. Even in the very announcements which have been made by Mr De Klerk, the overriding idea is to protect the interests of the Afrikaner. Even in the very positive measures he has taken, the thinking of the Afrikaner is there.
Take the question, for example, of local government. It is not an act of Parliament which has been passed which says we must now have a non-racial system of local government. The white city councillors must decide whether in a particular area there is going to be a non-racial government. In education, it is not the legislation of Parliament which makes it compulsory on the part of everybody to throw the schools open to all population groups: it is the whites that must decide this, the old thinking. Mr De Klerk wants changes, but he is a prisoner of the environment which produced him. And this is the reason why the enthusiasm about his measures, the measures that he has announced, is not so great amongst the blacks in this country.
Nevertheless, as I have said, we welcome the steps that he has taken. And we as the African National Congress will help him walk along with us forward. We know his problems, and we take them into account in sorting those problems out. We are determined to succeed, to make this country a happy and prosperous country in the interest of all groups. And we have gone out of our way, in spite of all the difficulties, to make sure that we all succeed in this process.
As far as the mass media is concerned, I remarked just now to Ken Owen, that the African National Congress does not mind criticism. We regard criticism, especially by the mass media, as in the interest of high public standards, moral standards, in the country. We regard it as a mirror through which we can see ourselves and the mistakes that we have committed.


Verbatim transcript - recording did not start at the beginning - a few sentences are missing

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Acquisition method: Audio Recording ; Source: Verbatim transcript by NMF. Accessioned on 22-06-2012 by Kelsey Duinkerken




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