Message by Nelson Mandela at Hungarian National Day and Millennium Celebrations, Cape Town

11 March 2001

Your Excellency Ambassador Pordany
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I thank you most sincerely for the kind invitation to participate in your national day and in your millennium celebrations. It is with great regret that I had to tender my apologies as I shall be travelling abroad at this time. Nonetheless, I gladly offer these few words by way of this message.

The dominant feature of our contemporary world is that of globalisation. Not only are national barriers in trade and the flow of goods and capital vanishing fast; on the social and cultural level that process of global influence is also asserting itself.

Globalisation is an inescapable part of our times, which does not mean that it is all good. On the economic level it too often favours the rich and powerful and leaves the poorer and weaker states at an even greater disadvantage.

While none of us would promote a return to insular forms of national chauvinism, the erosion of national and local cultures and social patterns is not without its dangers either. The wealth of our historical and cultural diversity is the lifeblood of our global co-existence.

It is therefore with pride and appreciation that we send this message of congratulations to the government and people of Hungary as they remember and celebrate great historical events that were key in shaping their national identity and establishing their sovereignty.

To be able to trace one's national identity back a thousand years must be an inspiration and a source of strength. To be able to look back on such epochal events as the revolution and the war of independence in the middle of the 19th century must inspire your people with confidence for the future.

I was privileged to visit Budapest during the last state visit of my presidency. I remember fondly the warmth with which I was received and the beauty of your capital, where people never failed to remind us that it actually consists of two cities, Buda and Pest.

It is my honour to congratulate you and wish you well. And may the bonds of friendship between your country and ours continue to grow and be strengthened.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation