Address by President Nelson Mandela at a public rally in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

17 November 1998

Your Excellency, President Mkapa
Vice President Omar Ali Juma
President Amour of Zanzibar
Mr Prime Minister
Secretary General of the CCM
Ladies and gentlemen
My brothers and sisters

It is a rare privilege to have the opportunity to address the people of Tanzania. To be allowed to do so for a second time, as the democratically elected President of the South African people, is a great honour and I thank you sincerely for it.

Three years ago we joined in celebrating the achievement of freedom in South Africa. It was a victory that was as much yours as it was ours. The struggle for our liberation was one that you made your own, not in any distant way but as freedom fighters sharing the sacrifices and the dangers. You gave us a home away from home when we most needed it.

For that the people of South Africa will always be grateful to the Tanzanian people, and we welcome this opportunity to say thank you once again.

We celebrated South Africa's freedom because it was also the culmination of our continent's struggle to free itself from colonial and white minority rule.

Henceforth, we could devote all our energies to meeting the basic need of Africa's children. As we had united for the liberation of Africa, in this new era we are called upon now to work together to eradicate poverty, hunger, homelessness and iliteracy. We can work together for Africa's rebirth.

None of us can achieve these goals, nor our goals of democracy, social justice, peace and stability, unless others achieve them too, especially our fellow Southern nations.

Our common membership of SADC, the OAU, of the Non-Aligned Movement which South Africa has just hosted, of the Commonwealth, relfects our common interests and our shared aspirations for a better world.

South Africa and Tanzania have made good use of the opportunity to turn the bonds forged in struggle into a partnership for growth and development. Trade, investment and tourism are on the increase, spurring economic growth in both our countries.

When the South African government encourages its private sector to seize the economic opportunities in Tanzania, it does so on the understanding that this will bring about the transfer of skills and technology and the creation of jobs; as well as help reverse the trade imbalance that still exists between us.

As we move towards economic integration within the framework of SADC, the realisation of these goals for all of us in Southern Africa is advanced. We have it in our hands to set our region, and our continent, on a path to redress its legacy of poverty and underdevelopment.

But this is no easy task. Reconstruction and development depend on peace, democracy and regional stability. Whatever happens in any one country affects us all. Each of us therefore, within the framework of our regional and continental organisations must do whatever we can to promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts that trouble our region.

We are especially concerned by the potential of the military conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to escalate still further, and to destabilise ever more of our continent as ever more countries become militarily involved.

South Africa is seeking every opportunity to advance the prospects of a peaceful resolution to this conflict, through SADC and in consultation with the AU. Our guiding principal are those agreed at the Victoria Falls and at the SADC Summit in Pretoria in August.

That means the immediate implementation of a cease-fire; a standstill of military forces and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the DRC. It requires a dialogue of all parties to the conflict on the security concerns of all affected states. And it means an all inclusive political process within the DRC to achieve the conditions for lasting peace.

It is our fervent hope that Tanzania, which has produced leaders of international standing like Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, and which has played such a constructive role in the peace process in Burundi, will bring its influence to bear in order to promote these goals.

In a situation of such complexity, impacting on all the countries of our region and beyond, the further shedding of the blood of innocents serves neither the people of the DRC nor those who are intervening in the situation.

Our ultimate goal, whatever assistance we can give, is that the people of the DRC should determine their own destiny.

Difficult though it may be, we are confident that a resolution will be found. Our confidence is based on the fact that Africa has leaders who know that the solution is in their hands, and who can therefore rise to the challenge of their times.

Peace is the greatest weapon for development that any people can have. We are proud that South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania who once fought a war of liberation together, are today united as partners in reaping the fruits of freedom and peace.

Dear friends and fellow freedom fighters.

I first came to Tanzania more than three decades ago as the people of South Africa were embarking on armed struggle, seeking your help. Since then I have returned, first as a newly-released prisoner and opponent of apartheid, and then as the first democratically elected President of a free people.

Today, I come once more, on the eve of my retirement from public life, to take leave of a people who are one with us.

I do so as we stand on the threshold of a new century that must be the African century.

Together we have long dreamt of the African Renaissance. Together we have created the conditions for the realisation of that dream.

It is a joy to be today with men and women whom we know will play a central role in that glorious rebirth!

I thank you

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation