Item 562 - Speech at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the United World Colleges (UWC) Conference : Southern Africa into the next millennium

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Speech at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the United World Colleges (UWC) Conference : Southern Africa into the next millennium


  • 1998-03-19 (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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South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the United World Colleges (UWC) Conference

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  • English

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Dr. Conrad Strauss, Chairman of the SAIIA;
Mr. Mark Hoffman, Chairman of the UWC;
Distinguished guests.

In a few short years Southern Africa has taken great strides towards the vision of co-operation for development conceived in the struggle for liberation. Yet we are still in our infancy as a region of free and equal nations striving for better life for all our citizens. Indeed, the twenty-first century brings challenges even greater than those we have overcome.

It is therefore a great pleasure to join you as you gather to deliberate on the future of Southern Africa. May I congratulate the two organisations involved for their foresight in staging an event on this important topic.

As President of the United World Colleges, I am delighted to see so many students here from the Waterford Kamhlaba College. You belong to a unique global educational institution that brings together students from all corners of the world to live and work together. For South Africans, Waterford shone in the night of apartheid as a beacon of hope. For me personally Waterford has special meaning, because two of my daughters attended the college while I was on Robben Island, as did the children of many of my colleagues.

The realisation of our dreams for our country and our continent depend on the values that the United World Colleges strive for - international understanding; development and leadership through education; peace and justice for all.

In an era increasingly defined by the interdependence of nations, a grasp of international trends is indispensable. As an independent organisation promoting appreciation of international issues through education and research, the South African Institute of International Affairs is ideally placed to make a major contribution.

By bringing together the worlds of government, research and education, this conference highlights the positive role Non-Governmental Organisations can play alongside government.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The success of our programme for the reconstruction and development of South Africa depends also on the people of Southern Africa and of Africa as a whole achieving our common goals of democracy, peace and social progress.

Such is the interdependence of the countries of our region and our continent, part of the globalisation that is integrating the nations of the world, and at the same time impinging on their sovereignty and helping to widen disparities between rich and poor.

In stating these facts we are touching on the most profound influences on South Africa's foreign and trade policy into the next century: the imperatives of development; the phenomenon of globalisation; and our relationship with the rest of Africa continent, in particular the SADC states.

Conferences like this allow us to reflect on how well we have used the opportunities that freedom has brought to eradicated the poverty that afflicts the mass of our people; to take stock of how far we have to go; and to appreciate if changing conditions require new responses. You have spent the day traversing these issues in depth and with analytic skill far beyond what I could muster.

Suffice it to say: that Southern Africa's interest in peace and stability is reflected in a collaborative approach to security and the resolution of such tensions as might occur; that a preference for democracy and the peaceful resolution of disputes have become the norm; that co-operation in combating crime is narrowing the space for criminals; that the space of economic policy is being set by a commitment to disciplined use of public resources in pursuit of far-reaching programmes of reconstruction, and by measures to encourage the flourishing of enterprise.

These practices are nurturing a climate for sustained growth and development. They are reflected in a rising trend of growth in the region and falling inflation.

We are proud of these achievements, but we do not underestimate the difficulties. Aligning countries afflicted by historic imbalances is no easy task nor one that can be accomplished in a short time.

Creating the single market to which SADC is committed will require a phased approach accompanied by measures to address the imbalances between and within countries.

In like manner SADC has initiated the challenging process of its own rationalisation as we pursue the evolution from Co-ordination Conference to Development Community. We need to find the right institutional forms to take full advantage of the new possibilities for integrated development through co-operation, including the potential for private sector contribution to development.

We must succeed in these matters if we are to meet our most urgent challenges, such as ensuring that economic growth translates into increased employment; that investment into the region matches the favourable conditions that exist; and that our trade relations with the world are put on an equitable basis.

As we succeed, we will be turning our region into the powerful engine for development it has the potential to be; a building block of an African economic community and a vital force in helping to make the 21st century the African century.

The imperatives of development define our destiny not only as an African nation, but also as a nation of the South. South Africa therefore seeks every opportunity to keep development issues high on the agenda, whether it be in our co-operation with nations at a similar stage of development or in the partnerships we are building with developed countries.

In this regard we see the selection of South Africa to chair UNCTAD, and soon the Non-Aligned Movement, as an affirmation of our commitment to addressing the problems facing developing nations. The summit of the Non-Aligned Movement which South Africa will be hosting later this year will be an opportunity to promote our common concerns.

Ladies and gentlemen;

As we pursue these goals we will count on the Institute to help keep our nation alert to global developments. And we expect graduates and students of the UWC, wherever they are, to play an active role in creating a better world.

At the end of a century which has seen unparalleled advances in political freedom, poverty still burdens the lives of millions who live in our region; in our continent; and indeed the world. That is an indictment of the past from which we are emerging. The widening disparities are a challenge defined by the process of globalisation in its current form.

As we enter the next millennium, we must know that history will judge us by our success or failure in turning the tide of poverty.

I thank you!

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 06/12/06 by Helen Joannides




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