Address by Nelson Mandela at reception following unveiling of statue in London

29 August 2007

A great honour was bestowed on us today. I am told that the statue now unveiled in Parliament Square is a salute from the people of Britain to the liberated people of South Africa. We thank you for such a tribute.

I am pleased that the statue will be a representation - and a constant reminder - of South Africa’s liberation after many long years of struggle. In Britain you have played an important part in this process. We in South Africa will not forget your efforts to support our liberation struggle - your hospitality to individuals and organisations, your boycotts, your protests, your fundraising campaigns. We remain profoundly grateful for this support. And, today, we are grateful for the support you have given in ensuring that this statue has become a reality.

As a very old pensioner, I am particularly happy to have been part of today’s celebrations. I well remember the visit I made in 1962 to Parliament Square with Oliver Tambo, and how we joked that perhaps someday a statue of a black man would be found alongside that of General Smuts.

Well, now the General and I are both in the Square. I think we can live together.

Congratulations to you all for your contribution to the success of this initiative. I thank you again for the accolade you have given us and the people of South Africa.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation