Item 410 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela at a luncheon in honour of Her Majesty Mamhato of Lesotho

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Speech by President Nelson Mandela at a luncheon in honour of Her Majesty Mamhato of Lesotho


  • 1996-08-06 (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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Luncheon in honour of Her Majesty Mamohato of Lesotho

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  • English

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Your Majesty, Queen Mamohato;
Your Excellency High Commissioner Mokose;

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed an honour and personal highlight for me to welcome Your Majesty to South Africa. I have for a long time wanted to arrange this visit and it is a great pleasure to me that it has at last come about. I am aware that this has been a very difficult year for Your Majesty and sincerely hope that the visit will be enjoyable as well as interesting.

The honour is all the greater because our nations have shared so much history; because South Africans owe so much to the Basotho nation for their selfless solidarity; and because the bonds between us grow daily closer as we work in partnership to improve the lives of our people.

In this regard I am aware that Your Majesty and I share some particular interests and concerns.

Amongst these is the plight of our children and the importance of giving their needs the highest priority. As Patron of numerous organisations in Lesotho aiming to better the lives of children, Your Majesty sends a powerful message that this is a task in which all sectors of society should join hands with their government. This is also a great concern of mine. Our children are our future and as such deserve to be nurtured by society with love and care.

My grandchildren are one of the greatest joys in my life and it is my sincerest desire to ensure that they grow up to be happy and fulfilled adults, in a country whose children no longer know the deprivation and suffering that is the present lot of so many of our children. Too many still lack basic rights such as shelter, healthy living conditions, education, medical facilities and employment opportunities. This saddens me immensely and I have come to realise that combating these problems is a universal responsibility which transcends national borders. We in the Southern African regions have a special responsibility. We need to share our experiences. If the organisations in our two countries which work in this field were to co-ordinate their efforts and learn from one another, it could only be of benefit to the children.

Your Majesty, I am also aware of the wonderful work you are doing for the development of women and young girls in Lesotho. This is also an area of great concern to me. The denial of equal rights to women in the past and their treatment in so many instances as second-class citizens is both an historical injustice to women and a loss to our societies which have been denied the full benefit of their skills, talents and leadership.

The challenge we face, in common with the rest of the world, is to ensure that the constitutional rights accorded to women are translated into reality. One area in particular in which our nations and the world in general are the poorer for the way in which women have been treated, is in the field of business. Ensuring that young girls have the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills is therefore of the greatest importance. I have been informed of the success achieved by the Lesotho National Council of Women, of whom Your Majesty is the Patron, in this regard. I think South Africa has much to learn from her sister Lesotho in this matter.

Your Majesty it is my hope and belief that the good relations between our two countries will continue for many years to come and that our great-grandchildren will not only be neighbours but friends, as we are.

I hope you have a wonderful stay in South Africa and on behalf of all the people of South Africa I wish to say to you, your family and the people of Lesotho:

Khotso! Pula! Nala!

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 23/11/06 by Helen Joannides




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