Address by Nelson Mandela at the public rally in Maputo, Mozambique

16 July 1990

Comrade President Jacquim Chissano,
Comrades of the Frelimo Party,
the Government of the People's Republic of Mozambique and
the Mass Organisations of the People of Mozambique,
Comrades Residents of Maputo and
Citizens of Mozambique:

This is indeed a great day for me. It is a great day because for the first time in a life that cannot be considered too short, I have the opportunity to speak to you al - you who are Mozambique, you in whose hands rests the destiny of this ancient and historic land, you who are flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood, a sister people whom we call a sister people because you and ourselves are bound by a million ties.

It is great day because I carry the mandate of your comrades, your brothers and sisters in South Africa, to convey to you their greetings, their love and their appreciation of the suffering you have had to endure for their sake. I carry also a message of comradeship and solidarity from your fellow combatants, thee leaders, members and activists of the African National Congress and other democratic organisations of our country.

Above all, I bring you the very best wishes of our President and leader of both our peoples, Comrade Oliver Tambo. He has told us to convey his deep gratitude to you for your good wishes and your prayers that he should regain his health. He has told us to assure you that he will return to see you, to try to take some of the burden of your pain, to participate with you in your celebrations, to bring to you our problems, so that you can help us to solve them. He says he will come again so that he can once more be among you who are his family. He said we should tell you that every soon he will have the possibility to invite you to visit him in his own house in South Africa, so that he can return thee hospitality which you have extended to him and to so many of our Comrades in the ANC.


The sun has begun to set on the evil system of apartheid. We can see the day dawn Black people will no longer be condemned to be servants to others simply because these have White skins. We know that the moment is not far when Black people and White people in South Africa will live together as equals, as brothers and sisters, sharing the same citizenship of a country which will belong to all the people, whatever their colour, whatever their race. What you have said in the past, as you struggled for your own freedom, we too repeat today - A Vitoria E Certa!

The victory is talking about is possible and certain because of the victory you yourselves achieved over Portuguese Colonialism, under the leadership of your heroic movement, Frelimo. Perhaps we would not talking of an impending end to the system of apartheid, as we today. Your victory was therefore a vital stepping stone to the success of the struggle against the system of racial domination in South Africa.

Frelimo was formed on the same year that I was captured by the apartheid police. I was therefore not able to add my own salute to the founding fathers of this fighting movement, whose Heroic deeds we heard about despite the thickness of the prison walls behind which we were held. I take this opportunity to do today what I could not do in 1962, to hall the courageous and far-sighted comrades who established Frelimo. As you know, these included some who are with us here today, such as Comrade President Jacquim Chissano and the chairman of the Nationally Assembly, Comrade Marcelino Dos Santos.

The year you launched the armed struggle, in 1964, was the same year we were dragged from the prison cells to be given an additional sentence of life imprisonment. Again, we were not present to add our own congratulations to Frelimo and to you for this historic act which contributed so much tom the collapse of the colonial system throughout Southern Africa. Therefore I take this opportunity today to salute all those who served in the combat ranks of Frelimo, and to pay homage to the heroic sons and daughters of the people of Mozambique who laid down their lives for the independence of this country.

When you gained your independence in 1975, we were not able to leave Robben Island prison to join the declaration of the ANC to your celebrations, which was led by comrade Oliver Tambo.

Therefore we could not be in your midst to rejoice with you and to congratulate you as you repossessed your country after years of colonial domination.

We take this opportunity today to salute you for the act of the creation of the Peoples' Republic of Mozambique, which served as a trumpet call to your own brothers and sisters in South Africa to launch an all-round offensive that would take our struggle for liberation to a higher level. That offensive, led by your sister movement, the ANC, has brought us to where were are today, when we can say with confidence that our common victory is in sight.

Comrade President;

Men and Women of Mozambique:

We would like to return to Mozambique during this year of our own release from the prisons of apartheid South Africa. We would like to come back not because we are not satisfied with the way you have received us this time. We would like to return to join you in celebrating the victory of the cause of peace-when at last the guns will have been silenced, when all the people of Mozambique, from Rovuma to Maputo, will be able to go about their business, to rebuild their lives and go to sleep, secure in the knowledge that nobody anywhere threatens their lives.

It is and must be our responsibility to help to ensure that none in our country does anything to subvert the peace process in which you are engaged. It is and must be our responsibility to help to ensure that one in our country continues to export instruments of death into Mozambique or continues to feed those of this country. We have a responsibility, which we will carry out, to do everything in our power to help end the destabilisation of Mozambique by anybody within our country.

Peace in Mozambique is a matter of grave concern to our movement and people. As you know more than we do, your country has known no peace for too long. Too many innocent men, women and children have perished. The product of the labour of millions of people has been turned to ashes and to ruin. The very sight of the poor children, who amaze us because they are still able to laugh and play despite their suffering, should be enough to move the men with hatred in their hearts and death on their minds to understand that enough is enough. The killing and the destruction must come to an end.

We had never thought live to hear the things we have heard of, the see the pictures we have seen, all of which are a grave offence to the dignity and honour of all African Men and Women everywhere, an insult an insult to the humane traditions of our peoples, things that are Alien to our common history, culture and customs. I speak here of the crimes committed by those who were surely driven by the Devil himself to cut off the tongues and ears of other human beings, to sever the breasts of women, to rape, to pillage and literally to enslave people through the systematic use of terror.

Those who taught us these diabolical practices did so only because they have the greatest contempt for the African people. They induced us to commit these crimes because they have no respect for the very people they have turned into their instruments of vile death and mutilation. There must be humanity enough left in all of us, to call of us , to call a halt to all this and to prevail over the merchants of death in the interest of life itself and our pride and integrity as African people.

I knew and worked with the greatest son of the people of Mozambique, Eduardo Mondlane, when he was a student in South Africa. He was to us no less a South African and no less a militant of the ANC that the rest of us were. He was moved by the same things that moved all of us, to see our peoples free, to see our continent liberated from the yoke of colonial and racist domination, to see our peoples free from hunger, poverty and backwardness.

We did not have the privilege of meeting that other great son of your people, Samora Moses Machel. But we knew of him through his brothers who served with us in branches of the ANC in South Africa. as have done many Mozambicans who are as much militants of Frelimo as they are of the ANC. We also know of him from what has great friend and admire, Comrade President Oliver Tambo, has told us. We know him too by his deeds which speak of an outstanding giant of the cause of African Emancipation, advancement and prosperity, which speak of a great fighter for the rights of Men and Women everywhere, regardless of their colour of race.

Both these Titans, and others among their comrades, laid down their lives in the struggle for our common emancipation, the one in Tanzania and other, on our own soil. When we heard of their deaths, as we did when we heard of the massacre at Amatola, we grieved in our prison cells with a feeling of loss whose intensity you can only imagine, and did what we could to salute these irreplaceable fighters for freedom.

All these and other great sons and daughters of our peoples have left us with the task of completing the work they started. To honour their memory we must sue for the victory of the cause for which they perished. They have entrusted to us the sacred mission of ending the apartheid system in South Africa, restoring peace to Mozambique, Angola and the rest of our region, and building a system of cooperation among our peoples so that none dominates the other, so that none threatens the security of the other, so that none walks around with a full stomach while another goes hungry.

Our message to you today, Dear Mozambican friends, Comrades, bothers and sisters, is very simple indeed. It is that we are getting there. We are getting close to the realisation of the objective of transforming South Africa into a United, Democratic, non-racial and non-sexist country. We are as impatient to reach this goal as you are, because no sane person can wish to see the apartheid system last even one day longer. If you hear anybody say that the ANC is dragging its feet and thus slowing down the effort to end apartheid, do not believe them. We have dedicated our entire lives to the objective of attaining a speedy end to the racist system of oppression and exploitation which has brought so much suffering both to you and to our selves. Even now, we are as determined as ever to move with the greatest speed to reach the day of freedom. When we return home on Wednesday, it will be one of our first tasks to find out what everybody has done, including our own movement as well as the Government, to take us nearer to the day when the system of apartheid will be no more.

It is also our firmly held belief that all of us in this region should begin the discussion about how we should, when apartheid goes, as it is bound to go, cooperate so that we use the enormous riches that are to be found in our seas, on land and under the soil of the countries of Southern Africa to feed, clothe, house and educate all our peoples, attend to their health and take care of the old and disabled.

We must all move quickly to end conflicts in our region and arrive at just and permanent solutions so hat we can together declare war on hunger and poverty. As you know, we ourselves have started the process of talking to the government of President F.W. De Klerk.

We are determined that the process of negotiations should move forward as rapidly as possible so that we produce a new constitution which will give everybody the right to vote and which will ensure that all South Africans live together in peace and as equals, in a common motherland. We are happy to report that a good start has been made.

Already many of your South African brothers and sisters who were imprisoned for fighting for freedom have been released. Some of those you meet here in Maputo and elsewhere in Mozambique when they were in exile have returned home to make their own contribution to the process of ending the apartheid system of White minority domination as quickly as possible. We make a commitment to you that we will keep on this course and work hard so that you inherit a neighbour that no longer treats Mozambique as an enemy, that no longer treats Mozambicans who come to South Africa as unwanted Aliens.

Dear Mozambican Friends,

Dear Comrade President:

Thank you very much for the warmth with which you have received my delegation, my wife, and I. Thank you for treating with us in a way that has once more confirmed that Mozambique is our home. Thank you for the enormous contribution you have made to our struggle in the past and which you continue to make today. We shall forever be moved by the fact that the government and the working people of Mozambique, despite their own suffering, decided to extend practical assistance by helping us to furnish the offices of the ANC which we are reopening, 30 years after a frightened apartheid regime decided to close them down.

Thank you also for the fact not for a single day did you forget us when we were in prison. It is the campaign you waged, together with the rest of humanity, which has enabled us to be here today. It is the relentless struggle in which you engaged, not only for the release of political prisoners, but also for the freedom of our people, which broke down the walls of the maximum security jails of South Africa so that we can rejoin you in the common struggle to bring freedom, peace, happiness and prosperity to all the peoples of Southern Africa and the rest of our continent.

In a few days we shall return to South Africa. We will tell your brothers and sisters that despite your own problems, you too are concerned that they should be free. We shall tell them that in all the days we were in Mozambique we were enveloped in a spirit of friendship, comradeship and solidarity. We shall tell them also that, in return, we assured you that we admire you, we respect you and above all we love you.

A Luta Continua!

A Vitoria E Certa!

Amandla Ngawethu!

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation