Item 045 - Speech of the Deputy President of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela, at the State Banquet in Uganda

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Speech of the Deputy President of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela, at the State Banquet in Uganda


  • 1990-07-06 (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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ANC Website

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  • English

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Your Excellency, Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda;
Your Excellency, Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe;
Your Excellency, Joacquim Chissano, President of the People's Republic of Mozambique;
Distinguished leaders of the people of Uganda;
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Having spent the last four weeks visiting the countries of the western world, it us a real pleasure to experience the homecoming represented by our return to Africa and our arrival in Uganda. This is the first time that we visit this African country which has already endeared itself to us by the obvious humanity and has already endeared itself to us by the obvious humanity and compassion of its President, Brother Yoweri Museveni, as well as the kindness, hospitality and open friendliness of its people.

To you all, Brothers and Sisters of the Republic of Uganda, on behalf of our delegation, I would like to say thank you very much for the manner in which you have received us. You have indeed made us feel very much at home. The memory of our visit to your country, which is as green and as enduring as the emerald, will remain with us for the rest of our days. We promise also that we will report to your brothers and sisters in South Africa that you welcomed us with open arms and that in this country, we have true friends.

You can imagine how great our joy was to discover on our arrival that not only would we have the honour and pleasure to spend time with President Museveni, but would also have the good fortune to meet their excellencies, Presidents Mugabe and Chissano.

It always gives us great strength to find ourselves in the company of, and to listen to the advice of these and other distinguished sons and daughters of the peoples of our continent. We thank you all your excellencies, for the kind words you have addressed to us both now and in the past. We do indeed value the comradeship and friendship you have extended and continue to extend to us.

Your Excellencies, friends and Comrades:

This is a banquet and therefore an occasion to wine and dine on the excellent fare that the people of Uganda have placed before us. It is not an occasion for a long lecture about our common struggle against the apartheid system. We will therefore make only a few remarks.

Accordingly, I am happy to report to you Comrades, Presidents and dear friends, that our common struggle is on course. Never in our history has the prospect of victory over the apartheid system been greater than it is today. The ANC, the mass democratic movement and the people of our country are all inspired by this perspective, the perspective of victory coming sooner rather than later.

We believe that in the near future all political prisoners will be released and political trials ended. All our comrades who were forced into exile will be able to return without fear of arrest and prosecution. Further movement forward towards ending legalised repression will also be made leading to the end of the state of emergency and the repeal of repressive legislation. In our view, these are important victories for all the people of our country.

All these, as well as earlier developments, will have an important impact on our country as a whole. What is clear to all South Africans, except those who seek to delude themselves, is that the ANC has established itself as the leading political force in our country. It is drawing in its ranks and grouping around itself the overwhelming majority of our people. These masses are confident that the ANC will lead them to victory in the near future.

We say this to emphasise the historic role that we, as an organisation, are expected to play and must play, to lead all the people of our country, both Black and White, to a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa. We are engaged in this task and are reaching out to all political formations as well as the masses of the people to ensure that the people continue to act as their own liberators and produce a political settlement which will accord with their fundamental aspirations

Despite the positive things we have said, we must however firmly root ourselves in the reality that the apartheid system continues to exist. South Africa is ruled by a White minority regime. The pillars of the apartheid system remain intact. Many Whites within our country are still determined to resist the inevitable change with all the force at their disposal. Accordingly, our own common struggle continues and must continue until victory is achieved about this there should be no doubt whatsoever.

We will therefore continue to rely on your firm and unwavering solidarity and your involvement with us in the struggle for the total liberation of Africa which have taken us to the point where we can say today that victory is in sight. We know we do not have to urge this on you as you are as committed as we are to the entire continent is free. What therefore remains is that we should consummate the victory of Swap, the people of Namibia, Africa and the rest of progressive humanity with an early victory over the apartheid system within South Africa itself. We must therefore continue to act as we have done over the decades.

In this regard, we are also pleased to bring you the good news that the peoples of western Europe and North America, from where just returned are very firmly on our side. Everywhere we have been, these masses have pledged to stay with us until our common cause succeeds.

It is also encouraging to note that their governments have also heard the voice of the people and themselves decided to keep the sanctions pressure on, and to come to our assistance with regard to such matters as the repatriation of exile and the reconstruction of our economy in future. In that sense, we can say continued to against the apartheid system has continued to gain in strength.

Dear friends:

Thank you for everything you did to secure our release. The fact that we are here today, and will have the possibility to participate in the process leading to the emancipation of our people, is a result of your relentless efforts to break down the South African prison walls so that we could be free. We must, together, continue to push hard for the release of all the remaining political prisoners.

More fundamentally, we must, together, continue to push hard for the freedom of all our people from the larger prison represented by the inhuman and criminal system of apartheid. We know you will be honoured to receive you in our own country, to return the hospitality you have extended to us, to show to you a country that will not only be in Africa but one which will have become truly an African country. Our common victory is assured.

Thank You.



Paragraph beginning: "All these, as well earlier developments..."
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Paragraph beginning: "All these, as well as earlier developments..."
Sentence in web text: "What is clear to all South Africans, except those who seek to delude themselves, id that the ANC has established itself as the leading political force in our country."
Changes made: "id" changed to "is"

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 7 Nov 2006 by Helen Joannides




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