Address by Nelson Mandela at the stone laying ceremony at Uganda's National Stadium, Kampala - Uganda

7 July 1990

It is with all humility that we accept this pleasant task of laying the foundation stone of Uganda''s National Stadium on behalf of our peers and indeed on behalf of all freedom loving people the world over. We perform this act of creation with a deep sense of gratitude that you have honoured us by appointing us to represent the heroes and heroines who fight for freedom.

On this foundation stone, a beautiful stadium dedicated to recreation and other public activities shall arise. On this rock, citizens of this great country will congregate to celebrate their nationhood and reaffirm their loyalty to their common destiny. On many occasions, and here, the Ugandan people will be joined by sportsmen and women from other countries. They will also be joined by other culture and the human race.

It gives us the greatest pleasure to be participants in an act which is bound to bring happiness to so many. We do so, deeply pained by the fact that in our country, apartheid has sought to dehumanise our people by distorting and undermining their cultural heritage. It is therefore our historic responsibility to reclaim and restore that heritage to our people as a whole. In this context, and as a part and parcel of our struggle against apartheid, we have called upon the international community to sever all cultural links with apartheid South Africa.

We look forward to the say when the youth or Uganda will use this stadium to develop a sound mind in a sound body and train themselves to appreciate the virtues of individual excellence as well as the social importance of cooperative team effort.

This ceremony is to us also a moment of hope. By inviting us to perform this initial ritual, the Ugandan people have, eloquently, pronounced their readiness to struggle with us until apartheid has been eliminated. We shall leave this country fortified by the knowledge that millions of you are with us.

The best tribute we can pay to Uganda, Africa and the world at large is to win our freedom. When that day comes, we shall come and play in this stadium in the knowledge that you too will compete in our fields as par of our common effort to build friendship among the youth and peoples of our country.

Thank You

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation