Address by President Nelson Mandela at the official reception hosted by President Sir Ketumile Masire of Botswana

5 September 1995

Your Excellency President Masire and First Lady;
Honourable Ministers;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am deeply honoured to be in Botswana at the beginning of the first ever official state visit by South Africa.

Allow me to thank you, Mr President, for the kind invitation to visit Botswana, and for the warmth of the welcome which has been extended to us today.

As neighbours, we are bound by a common border, by history and by ties of culture and language. For many of our people, each other's country is a second home. For all these reasons we share beliefs and aspirations, and most importantly a commitment to freedom, justice and respect for human dignity.

In pursuit of these noble ideals, Botswana and her people made an enormous contribution to our struggle for liberation, defiant of pressure and violent attacks from a much more powerful neighbour.

South Africa is now well into its second year of freedom and about to hold its first ever democratic local elections. This, Botswana helped make possible.

Freed from apartheid and destabilisation, South Africa and Botswana can join hands to work for the mutual benefit of our peoples. The Summit of the SADC last week in Johannesburg confirmed that, together, too, we can make our humble contribution to progress in Southern Africa. We can work with the rest of our region to build it into a powerful force for development, contributing to the rebirth of Africa and making its mark in the world.

I am confident that this opportunity for discussion and exchanges of ideas will lead to even closer co-operation between our countries and our peoples towards these goals.

A relationship born out of a common yearning for freedom at the turn of the century, can at last become a partnership for peace and prosperity as we step into the new millennium.

I thank you!

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation