Address by Nelson Mandela at opening of Nobel Square, Cape Town

14 December 2003

Premier Van Schalkwyk
MEC Rasool
Professor Fatima Abrahams
Fellow Nobel Peace Laureates
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great privilege and honour to join all of you here today in this gesture celebrating and seeking to further promote reconciliation in our country.

We need to find as many opportunities as we can to celebrate our national achievement at which the world still marvels, calling us a miracle nation because of the manner in which we proved the confident prophets of doom wrong. We were expected to destroy one another and ourselves collectively in the worst racial conflagration. Instead we as a people chose the path of negotiation, compromise and peaceful settlement. Instead of hatred and revenge we chose reconciliation and nation-building.

We need to celebrate ourselves and our achievement as often as we can. And we must, as you have chosen to do with this project, continue to build on that achievement, promoting and furthering the cause of national reconciliation.

Day after tomorrow will be our national Day of Reconciliation. Perhaps we should call on all South Africans, in all walks of life, on that day to find within their communities, localities or towns a concrete opportunity to reach out and make national reconciliation real. Gather with a few people from different backgrounds and share a cup of tea together. Make national reconciliation work in your own life.

I salute the organisers of this event and project. We need ever more leadership like this, showing us the continued centrality of reconciliation and nation-building. Premier van Schalkwyk and MEC Rasool have demonstrated in their partnership in this Province how reconciliation can be made to work in practice. This initiative takes their example beyond the province, setting an example nationally.

I cannot conclude without also paying the highest tribute to my two fellow Nobel Laureates present and remembering the inspiring example of Chief Albert Luthuli. Mpilo Tutu and F W de Klerk will always be remembered by future generations of South Africans for the roles they played in making our miracle possible and real. And all three of us walked in the footsteps of that great and pioneering South African nation-builder Albert Luthuli.

Thank you for this inspiring gesture.

God bless Afrika.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation