Item 1151 - Speech of the President Nelson Mandela at a Dinner at The Menil Collection

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ZA COM MR-S-1151


Speech of the President Nelson Mandela at a Dinner at The Menil Collection


  • 1991-12-07 (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 Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare

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Dinner at "The Menil Collection"

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  • English

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Mrs de Menil,
Mrs Ann Richards, Governor of the state of Texas,
President Jimmy Carter,
Esteemed recipients of the Rothko Chapel Human Rights Awards and the Carter-Menil Human Rights Prize,
Mayor Kathy Whitmire, Mayor of Houston,
Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:

We would like to thank you all, first and foremost those of you who are citizens of Houston and Texas, for enabling us to visit this famous state of the United States of America.

We trust that by the time we leave to go home, we will have laid the basis for the building of strong and permanent relations of friendship and cooperation between Texas and a free South Africa.

Among us, there can be no person better placed than our dear host, Dominique de Menil, to inspire the sort of relations I am talking about. I say this because over the years Mrs de Menil has stood among the front ranks of those who have participated in the struggle to end the evil system of apartheid.

Outraged by the massive and systematic violation of the human rights of our people, none of whom were her kith and kin, all of them living thousands of miles away from her own country, she nevertheless felt moved to act in support of our people, as an expression of her own sense of human compassion and common decency.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely, Mrs de Menil, for everything you have done to contribute to the processes which are now leading to the emancipation of our people.

We have not yet achieved our goal of the transformation of South Africa into a non-racial democracy under a new constitution. Later this month, on the 20th of this month, the convention for a democratic South Africa will meet in Johannesburg to begin the process which will lead to the adoption of this constitution.

It goes without saying that there will be many problems to be overcome before we reach this goal, among them the scourge of violence and the deep-seated mistrust that exists among the negotiators. We will have to struggle to overcome these and other obstacles, such as the continuing problem of the more than 100 political prisoners who have as yet not been released. However, we are certain of victory. There is no way in which the apartheid system can survive for very long. If we continue to act together to oppose this system, as I believe we must, we will indeed ensure that victory comes without undue delay.

Then shall we be faced with the task of dismantling the system of apartheid, wiping out its terrible legacy and ensuring that South Africa takes its place among the community of nations as a free, peaceful and prosperous country, with a sound system of race relations which can serve as an example to all those, throughout the world, who have to continue the struggle against all manifestations of racism.

With your assistance, we will be able to produce such a South Africa. But we would that such assistance should become available within the context of a mutually beneficial relationship between our respective peoples.

That is why, dear friends, we said that we hope that our visit to Texas will lay the basis for such a relationship, based on cooperation in all fields of human endeavour and inspired by a common love for and commitment to freedom and democracy.

I am especially pleased that President Jimmy Carter is with us today. A stout defender of our cause and supporter of all the peoples of our continent, I am certain that he will be with us as we draw on the well of goodwill which inspired this country to act against apartheid to build, between our respective peoples, a lasting pact that will be of benefit to all and detrimental to none.

Once more, thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to be among you and thank you very much for the warmth and openness of your welcome.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 18/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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