Item 151 - Speech of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela, at the Award Ceremony of the Apostolic Faith Mission

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Speech of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela, at the Award Ceremony of the Apostolic Faith Mission


  • 1993-09-15 (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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Award ceremony of the Apostolic Faith Mission

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  • English

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Bishop Kenneth Shelton,
Distinguished guests.

We are greatly honoured to receive an award from the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. We are deeply honoured to receive an award which has previously been awarded to men and women we hold in great esteem.

We are mindful of the long distance you have travelled to bring this award to the people of South Africa in recognition of their heroic struggles against injustices and persecution. I accept this award on behalf of all South Africans.

The Apostolic Faith Mission and the African National Congress share a common purpose. The foundation stones of the ANC are based on the principles of human rights and equality. The Apostolic Faith Mission has chosen to work amongst the poorest in all of Africa and in South Africa and has worked with us in our struggle for freedom.

The ANC entered into negotiations with the South African government and all other political parties in pursuance of democracy, freedom, justice and unity for all South Africans. We want to achieve a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa and in this context we welcome the commitment of the church to these broad principles. The negotiations process has been a momentous success for the people of South Africa. Progress has been made and the TEC will be in place to ensure that the necessary legal basis for establishing a climate for free and fair elections will take place and where the rule of law will be subjected to the collective responsibility of a multi-party forum and not a minority party. It is a well-known fact that the negotiations process has been put under pressure by political parties who are fundamentally opposed to democracy - sabre-rattling with "civil war" as its cry is rising in prominence...but the people of this country have faced too much tragedy and suffering to allow the strategy of losers to win any support among the majority.

We hope that by the end of this week the bill which will make the TEC a reality will become a law and all South Africa can begin to breath the clear fresh air of concrete progress.

Violence has gripped this country since 1990 and the lives of over 20,000 South Africans have been wasted, our most urgent task is to grapple with an urgent solution to creating genuine peace in this country, the establishment of the TEC will carry us some way towards this goal. Whilst we can look back on the progress made by negotiations with some satisfaction we need to reflect on the sadness faced by the families of those innocent men and women and children who have been murdered by faceless cowards who wish to sew the seeds of confusion, mistrust and chaos.

The lives of our children have been blighted and this brutality has affected the psyche of every person in South Africa. We appeal to the church to play a leading role in attempting to heal the wounds of an unjust war against innocents.

The moral fabric of our society has been rent asunder and the violence cannot be ascribed to black on black violence in the simplistic fashion adopted by the mass media and President, De Klerk. The face of the violence is complex and has roots in the security forces as well in sheer acts of criminality. One feeding off the other and the result is death and destruction. There is no government anywhere in the world who would have tolerated the death of more than 20 000 people and dismiss it as a problem of black people killing black people, when the evidence is in abundance of the acts of complicity of then state security forces and right wing surrogates of the government.

Politicising crime will not stop the murders, decisive action against the right wing and black surrogates of the government will end the violence. In the 1980's it was the church who led the campaign to SET THE TRUTH FREE and we call on the church to work with the forces of democracy to end the violence in the townships.

Justice and reconciliation will only flourish in an atmosphere of peace and mutual trust, we all have the responsibility to create the climate for peace.

We know that the majority of the people of South Africa want peace and the people in the war torn townships of Thokoza, Katlehong, Tembisa, Sebokeng and townships in Natal seek nothing more than the rights to sleep without fear and to speak without the threat of death. Let us work together to make this a reality.

The ANC has announced its intention to call for the lifting of sanctions the moment that the TEC becomes a legal reality. We believe that the constituency which supported the call for sanctions both nationally and internationally was the church.

The quest for creating a just society mobilised us into action against apartheid and sanctions was an effective and profoundly influential tool.

It was a peaceful weapon. Now we have to mobilises for the economic upliftment of the oppressed people in South Africa and will rely on the church to assist in the tasks of lobbying for overseas investment which will help build our economy into one which will redress the hunger and poverty created by apartheid.

The international community assisted our cause for justice by implementing sanctions and we say that when the TEC bill becomes law and a reality we will call on them to lift sanctions and support the development of a truly democratic South Africa.

We would like to use this occasion to pay a special tribute to the International Monitors who risk their lives every day. Your efforts inspire all of us.

The ANC will announce its reconstruction programme later this year. We are determined to put into action a progress which will bring about a qualitative change in the lives of the majority of South Africans. The traditional disparities in wealth, housing, health and access to education will be our focus for reconstruction. We have seen the results of an apartheid economy - it delivered unemployment, divided families and the destruction of the family unit. It allowed for the manipulation of the country's assets into military hardware.

We hope that with the help of every South African, we will be able to build a nation out of the ruins of apartheid. Unemployment is a major contributing factor to crime in the townships and out task is to try to create a climate where the dignity of every human being will be restored through meaningful employment. The capacity building work being done in the church through the creation of self-help projects and education for life is a great contribution to our future development.

The ANC respects the right of every individual to practice the religion of his or her choice, we do not subscribe to the belief that religion is to be used by any state to give credence to oppression. We believe that the organs of civil society will play a major role in empowering South Africa's black majority and on 27 April 1994 when 20 million South Africans go to the vote in the first democratic elections in this country we will count on the churches to ensure that the elections are fair and free. We believe that Voter Education will give people the knowledge required to use their votes and understand what they are voting for. The illiteracy of 60 per cent of the black majority is already being exploited by political parties who wish to see the status quo remain in place. Our people are already being victimised into accepting particular political policies, with gifts of food to hungry stomachs and trips to game reserves which end up being rallies for the NP. We rely on the church to awaken the minds of our people to manipulation. The focus of our message is that every voter must be able to exercise his or her vote according to their conscience. The Apostolic Faith Mission embraces the poorest of the poor and we salute you for this. There is no glory nor glamour in poverty, and yet the poor people of our country are the true wealth of this country.

We dedicate this award to the oppressed people in this country and we thank you once again for bringing this award to South Africa.


Paragraph beginning: "The ANC entered into negotiations with the South African government and all other political parties in pursuance of Democracy, Freedom, Justice and Unity for all South Africans."
Changes made: "Democracy", "Freedom", "Justice", "Unity" changed to "democracy", "freedom", "justice" and "unity"

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 13/11/06 by Helen Joannides




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