Speech By President Nelson Mandela at a Banquet in Honour of Julius Nyerere, Johannesburg, 17 October 1997
Master of Ceremonies; Mwalimu Julius Nyerere; Mr Nicky Oppenheimer; Honoured guests;
It is a great pleasure to share in this occasion honouring one of Africa's great patriots.
It is a humbling experience to recall the contribution that Mwalimu Nyerere has made to the liberation of our continent, and to freedom in South Africa.
This is the freedom fighter who heard Chief Luthuli's appeal and joined Trevor Huddleston in launching the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Britain in 1959; a leader whose decisive intervention at the Commonwealth Conference after the Sharpeville Massacre led to the exclusion of apartheid South Africa.
I had the personal privilege of meeting him many years ago, in 1962, when I visited Tanzania seeking help as we embarked on the armed struggle. Then, as now, I was struck by his lucid thoughts; his burning desire for justice everywhere; and his commitment to Africa's interests.
After the independence of Tanzania, Mwalimu, as its head of state, continued to play an important role in the struggle for justice and democracy not only in Africa, but throughout the world.
The people of Tanzania gave unstinting support to the liberation of South Africa. They gave recognition of the most practical kind to the principle that our freedom and theirs were interdependent.
Today, as free nations we have joined hands in recognition of the interdependence of our countries, our region and our continent in the achievement of peace and prosperity.
It is in this spirit that we affirm our support for Julius and the people of Tanzania in the goals they have set for themselves.
The expansion of economic ties of trade and investment between Tanzania and South Africa, and indeed between all the countries of the region, is an objective to which South Africa is firmly committed.
When we promote foreign business interest and investment in South Africa it is not in any spirit of beggar thy neighbour. Indeed South African firms have seized the opportunities that abound in a liberated Southern Africa and we encourage them in this.
We do so on the understanding that such investment will be conducted as we expected foreign investors to do in our own country: to promote the transfer of skills and technology; to make a permanent and sustainable expansion in the productive capacity of the host country; and wherever possible in the form of joint ventures to promote the development of local business, especially amongst those previously excluded from such opportunities.
Such a development is in the interest of our entire region. In particular we would like to see an expansion of South African business involvement in Tanzania along such lines. Some of the companies represented here tonight have already shown their interest by taking part earlier this year in a delegation to Tanzania led by our Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.
That delegation reflected the spirit of co-operation between government and business, within a broader partnership of all social sectors which is the hallmark of reconstruction and development in South Africa, in Tanzania and throughout our region.
Non-governmental organisations form an essential component of that broader partnership. The Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation whose establishment we are marking tonight is, I am confident, destined to make a significant contribution in that regard.
There would be reason enough to welcome its formation as a commemoration of a great person. But it is more than that. It is also a contribution to the future. It gives substance to the goal of creating African capacity to resolve African problems.
The ideals of peace, unity and people-centred development for which it stands are essential for our continent's economic and political revival. We can only applaud its intention to promote these goals by drawing on Africa's collective intellectual resources.
It is through the upliftment and empowerment of the people of Southern Africa, and indeed the entire continent, that we will achieve the African Renaissance we so strongly desire.
I thank you.
Issued by: Office of the President – SA