Christmas and New Year message by Nelson Mandela to the people of South Africa

25 December 1993

Dear fellow South Africans,

Christmas should be a time of joy, when families come together to celebrate the festive season.

New Year should be a time to look forward with hope and resolution.

For decades we have had no reason to celebrate, little to look forward to in the year ahead.

This year, too, brought much pain and suffering. Many lost their loved ones through the criminal violence that continues unabated. Many more lost their homes and all their possessions. Millions continue to live in the abject poverty that apartheid and the National Party rule bequeathed us.

But now, for the first time, the future holds the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

This will be the last Christmas we observe under white minority rule. We start 1994 with vigour, for it is our year of freedom. April 27 must result in the election of a government that stands for all South Africans, a government that has as its priority the building of a better life for all, bringing jobs, security and, above all, peace.

The challenge before all of us is to build the non-racial, democratic South Africa of our dreams.

Allow me, on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, to wish you all a joyous, peaceful Christmas, and a very happy New Year!

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation