Address by President Nelson Mandela at dinner hosted by the Lord Mayor of London after receiving the Freedom of the City of London, United Kingdom

10 July 1996

My Lord Mayor;

I should like to thank you for this wonderful evening, for me personally and for my fellow South Africans it has been a great joy to be inn your company with so many British friends. This splendid setting and the ancient traditions of your city which we have witnessed make this a truly unforgettable occasion.

I feel deeply the honour which you have done me. For a community to welcome a person from a faraway land as one of its own, is something that I regard as a very special privilege. It affirms the universality of human experience, and it is eloquent with your care for the well-being of all South Africans.

It is my good fortune to be able to come here to receive the freedom of the City of London. I would like, if I may, to accept it on behalf of all South Africans, for all of us have been toilers in the quarry to break down a system which kept us one from another. Now that we are free from oppression and enforced division, the challenge is to make a reality of our vision of a society in which all are free from want.

By conferring this privilege, you reaffirm your faith in South Africans to be worthy of these noble aspirations. We will cherish that honour. It will reinforce us in our determination to work together for a better life.

Let us all join hands in a partnership of peace and prosperity, for all our peoples, for all people everywhere.

I thank you.

Issued by: Office of the President

Source: South African Government Information Website