Item 1192 - Statement of the President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela on the Occasion of the first " Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture"

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ZA COM MR-S-1192


Statement of the President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela on the Occasion of the first " Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture"


  • 1993-11-05 (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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  • English

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Dear sister, Adelaide Tambo,
Our dear Father, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston,
Director of the Macro-economic Research Group,
Distinguished participants,
Comrades, ladies and gentlemen:

Nothing I will say can express the thrill that ran through my veins as I listened to a rare human being, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, as he spoke in memory of yet another rare human being, Oliver Reginald Tambo, of his ideas, his works and his being.

It is given to very few of us to be blessed with the intimacy of association with such human beings as these two titans of our struggle.

I am humbled that I, among others, can claim that intimacy of association; that I, among others, can speak of a relationship that extended beyond the boundaries of political comradeship to encompass the formation of bonds of friendship that will outlive all that is ephemeral.

We are very moved that it was possible for this first memorial lecture to be given by you, Father Huddleston. We are most grateful that you could find the time and travel the long distance you have.

We thank the leadership of MERG most sincerely that, to honour your first Patron, you brought Archbishop Huddleston back to our midst.

Dear Father, your brilliant words will be our lodestar as we march further forward into a future of democracy, peace and human dignity for all, to which you and Oliver devoted your labours and your lives.

In this regard, I must reiterate that it is a matter of regret and concern to us that there are still some organisations in the country that continue to exclude themselves from the process of multi-party negotiations taking place at the World Trade Centre.

These talks have no purpose other than to take all our people to the future of democracy, peace and human dignity for all of which I have spoken.

It is not possible that there can be something so offensive in its proceedings that those who claim to espouse these ideals, find it impossible to sit together with others to agree on a way forward and to make their own impact and contribution to the definition of an acceptable future for all South Africans.

Equally, we do not believe that there can be something so defective in the elaboration of the process to genuine democracy, that it becomes necessary to kill people and lay the country to waste.

And yet, some among our compatriots threaten that if we take the next step to democracy and a durable peace for our country, they will unleash a civil war.

And at a time when we should all be working together to assume joint responsibility for an end to the violence and the security of all our people, there are some who are talking of setting up new armed formations which cannot but worsen the climate of violence and conflict in the country.

This needs to be said once again that the present government has the primary responsibility for ending the violence which continues to take its toll.

Looking at the continuing tragedy in such areas as the East Rand, we cannot but charge that this government is not doing all that it can and must.

Its most senior leaders seem to maintain such a level of detachment and distance from this problem, and demonstrate such unwillingness to act decisively and continuously, that we must surely be excused if we reach the conclusion that they either do not care that people are dying or derive some benefit from the carnage.

I say these things not because I want to make political capital for partisan purposes. I say them because, like millions of other South Africans and others throughout the world, I am concerned that the political violence must in fact be brought to an end.

Indeed I do believe that the natural process of political competition among different parties and organisations, must be tempered by the important consideration that we have a common objective to achieve the democratic transition in conditions of peace and stability.

The country should not be subjected to such unacceptable electioneering manoeuvres as we saw in Cape Town recently, when people who wore somebody else's political colours only yesterday, suddenly emerge dressed in the colours of the ANC and forcibly occupy other peoples houses, contrary to everything the ANC stands for.

The common commitment to ensure that the elections take place on April 27 and that they are indeed free and fair, must instruct all of us to behave in a manner designed to ensure that we achieve these results.
*Commitment to black farmers, business
*Undertaking. Afrikaners have nothing to fear

A deep sense of morality and a genuine humanism guided Oliver Tambo throughout his life. May the example he set continue to inspire all those of us, both black and white, who dare count themselves among the architects of the new South Africa.

I sincerely thank the organisers for enabling me to participate in this important and moving event and thank you all that you set aside time to share these few moments with our leader and friend, Isitwalandwe Archbishop Trevor Huddleston.

Thank you for your kind attention

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 19/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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