Address by Nelson Mandela at dinner hosted by Prime Minister Bildt of Sweden

20 May 1992

Prime Minister Bildt,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,

My visit to Sweden, the Venice of the north, has been rewarding indeed. It is truly a pleasure to meet and discuss with staunch allies, who have the welfare of our people at heart. mis is in stark contrast to our own country, where every day is a battle for survival, every discussion a battle of wits against a ruthless opponent.

My early morning walk enabled me to see for myself the rich cultural heritage of the people of Sweden, the lack of ostentation and the rewarding lifestyle your people enjoy. Those of you elected to office are truly servants of the people, and we have a great deal to learn from you.

Our discussions have been wide-ranging, frank and productive. We have not only had the opportunity to brief you on the current political developments and proposals on the way forward, but we have also paid great attention to the concerns you have raised about such issues as sanctions.

Your response to our urgent needs reflects your unwavering commitment to democracy and the respect you have for every individual. Relations between our two countries and peoples are built on rocks as solid as the granite all around us. We hope to see flourish, without any delay, extensive contact between our people, particularly our youth, at a sporting and cultural level. We will certainly do what we can to promote such ties.

We have every confidence that an interim government of national unity will be in place within a short period of time, and that this will result in the rapid growth of trade and investment between our countries.

We count the government and people of Sweden as among our staunchest allies, and look forward to welcoming you, Mr Prime Minister, to our country once an interim government is in place. We would like to be host for a change, and let you see for yourself the enormous tasks ahead of us, and how much you and your people have already contributed.

We can never forget a friendship forged over so many years of painful struggle. The greatest reward will be a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist South Africa that offers a future to millions of people denied everything but hope in their own land.

Thank you for your warmth and hospitality, and your selfless support for the people of South Africa.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation