Address by Nelson Mandela's to the International Conference on 'The Anatomy of Hate', Oslo - Norway

26 August 1990

The right honourable Syse, the Prime Minister of Norway
Your excellencies Heads of States and Governments
Distinguished Delegates and Guests
Fellow Freedom Fighters and Peace Makers

For thousands of years and one generation after another, the human race has thrown up men and women of love, vision and boundless courage. It is thanks to these towering giants, that our humanness has always remained with us and will always remain with us, no matter how difficult the challenges history throws at us from one historic era to another. We remain human beings precisely because small people everywhere have risen and continue to rise in defence of the human race. Some of these are named and have become saints; yet countless others have passed and continue to pass unnoticed and unsung. We meet here today, and in their name, to challenge the vanity and hatred that threatens the very survival of our planet. Like them, we are congregated here to say that no power has greater force than our love for humanity.

From shore to shore because of the violence that apartheid continues to visit upon our people. As a result, we come here carrying hopes of millions of our people, who pray that this conference should go some way in bringing a speedy end to their long borne suffering. Our presence here is not an abdication of duty, rather it is an affirmation of our long standing faith in the common destiny of the human race. It is our oneness that will continue to move us to converge on august fora such as the present one. Our commonness will, for generations to come, continue to impel men and women of conscience to talk about the anatomy of hate and act in promotion of universal love, prosperity and peace.

When we talk about hatred in the world today, we should do so without fear or favour. We should have the courage and political will to be counted amongst those who stood for right in the face of overwhelming evil. We cannot talk about human rights without addressing the sea of problems confronting our generation, especially hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance and disease. In this regard, from the east to the west, the south to the north, we all share in the guilt of leaving our fellow human beings to suffer the pain of deprivation . All of us and without exception share in the responsibility to ensure that this evil is eradicated. The great divide between the rich and the poor, between the east and the west, between the north and the south should and indeed must be eliminated.

We are living in times of great upheavals and great hope. The political landscape of our world is being transformed beyond recognition. The familiar land marks are no longer there. We ape therefore pioneers of a new world. We should and indeed must steer humanity towards a new path, away from the pain and tribulations that has afflicted us for so long. This is a task that can no longer wait. The clouds of war gathering in the

Fact that the conscience of humanity is still in place. Let us therefore respond to the challenge with the boldness and the determination that the situation requires from all of us.

In South Africa, we stand on the threshold of a historic and most fundamental democratic transformation. The new situation in our country is a direct result of our peoples' struggle, supported as it were, by the sterling efforts of the international community. Realising that our struggle had produced conditions where it was possible to dismantle apartheid by peaceful means, our movement, the African National Congress, lost no time in inviting the government to open negotiations with the legitimate leaders of the black majority. In this regard it should be mentioned that there is no single organisation or political party in South Africa, which can compare to the ANC, in our commitment to peace. It was this above all else which made us to persist to knock at a closed door since 1986, we are heartened that finally, the government has responded positively to our initiative.

As a result, we have had two successful meetings between the government and the ANC. In both the Groote Schuur and Pretoria meetings, the main subject for discussion was the creation of the necessary climate for peaceful negotiations. In a gesture of goodwill and reconciliation, the ANC announced the suspension of the armed struggle at the conclusion of the Pretoria meeting. For its part, the government undertook to address the violence which at the time, was confined mainly to the Province of Natal. It is deeply distressing that the current wave of violence, has spread to many parts of the country with the ferocity never seen before. Forces opposed to the peace efforts are undoubtedly behind the latest violent eruptions. The strategic objective of the anti- peace forces, is to undermine the process that we have so delicately natured.

In more in a position to guarantee the success of the peace process. It hurts us deeply that despite numerous efforts on our part to salvage the process, other parties are as yet to discharge their obligations under agreements reached. However, despite the gloomy picture painted here, we have not lost heart. The international community has an ongoing responsibility to assist us in our efforts to give democracy and peace a chance in South Africa.

The so called black on black violence has its roots in the system of apartheid. It is this system that continues to sustain this violence. There has been numerous calls for me to meet with the leader of Inkatha, Chief Buthelezi. The ANC is prepared to do all things possible in order to ensure that apartheid is ended and peace restored to our country. It was in line with this spirit that, even before our release from jail, the leadership of the mass democratic movement opened up talks with Inkatha with the view of ending violence in black areas. At the end of these meetings, Buthelezi demanded a meeting between himself, the leadership of the mass democratic and our President comrade Oliver Tambo. When all had agreed to a meeting, Buthelezi pulled out giving unacceptable excuses for not attending the meeting. At every stage, Buthelezi has undermined our peace efforts. Despite all these, the ANC remain ready to sue for peace without sacrificing our people's democratic right to belong to a political party of their own choice.

Apartheid remain firmly in place in South Africa, and the right wing is fully prepared to defend it by all means, including violence. It remains our common responsibility to continue isolating the apartheid system. All forms of pressure, including sanctions, should therefore be kept firmly in place until fundamental and irreversible changes takes place in our troubled country. It would be wrong, for anyone to begin thinking of assisting apartheid South Africa to break out of her pariah

For our part we remain fully ready, to continue with the struggle until our dream of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa has become a living reality. We shall continue to be partisan fighters on the side of peace and democracy. We shall relentlessly challenge the infamous seeds of hatred wherever these are found.

Thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation