Opening remarks by Nelson Mandela at the 4th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture given by President Thabo Mbeki, Johannesburg

29 July 2006

We are greatly honoured to welcome all of you at this occasion. You honour us by your presence and we thank you most sincerely.

We are particularly honoured that the President of our country will be delivering this Fourth Annual Lecture.

Mister President, I have so often said it publicly but I shall repeat it here this evening: in all of its history South Africa has not had a Prime Minister or President that has led the country with such success as you have done and are doing. You led the country in manner that touched and improved the lives of all citizens.

We today live in a country whose economy is sound and consistently growing. We live in a modern and stable democracy within which we constitutionally and legally live out our differences and tensions united in our diversity. In achieving, maintaining and consolidating all of these conditions you, Mister President, played a key and major role for which history will remember and honour you.

If the African continent today features more prominently then ever on the international agenda it is to a great measure due to your efforts and your stature, Mister President.

Your vision of an African Renaissance has inspired our country to firmly locate itself as primarily an African country; and it has inspired the continent towards self-reliance and a new pride in its own achievements and reputation. The New Plan for African Development owes so much to your visionary thinking.

You are an international statesman. It is with great pride that we observe the respect with which you are invited to, received and listened to in the international forums. You make us all proud to be South Africans and Africans, Mister President.

That you have agreed to deliver this fourth Annual Lecture in our name is indeed a great honour. Thank you for honouring an old man in this manner.

We look forward to you sharing your insights with us, and I now invite you to address this gathering.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation