Mandela 'towers like a giant'

2004-05-10 17:45
Cape Town - The last apartheid president of South Africa, FW de Klerk, said his successor, Nelson Mandela, "towers out like a giant" in the transformation of South Africa.

Speaking before Mandela during a special joint sitting of the two houses of parliament - the national assembly and the national council of provinces - De Klerk said: "Today, in more than one sense of the word, is the day of Nelson Mandela, of Madiba."

De Klerk, then leader of the National Party, released Mandela and other political prisoners in 1990 and unbanned what is today''s ruling party, the African National Congress, and its alliance partner, the South African Communist Party.

The special sitting was held on Monday to celebrate 10 years of democracy and, in particular, the inauguration of Mandela on May 10 1994, as the first president of a nonracial democratic South Africa.

Mandela served just one term until 1999.

South Africa 'has become an inspiration'

In honouring Mandela, De Klerk said: "To a man who towers out like a giant in this transformation (of South Africa).

"To a man who has shown to all of us what it means to really build reconciliation. We honour you, sir, on this day."

In his speech, Mandela said that in a cynical world South Africa had become an inspiration to many.

He was referring to the country and its progress in the past decade towards stable democracy, but the words could well be used to describe himself and former president F W de Klerk, who had both been invited to address the session.

When Mandela rose to speak, MPs and guests leapt to their feet to clap, cheer and whistle the man who, more than any other, championed and led the change to democracy in South Africa.

Mandela said: "Merely observing this parliament inspires national pride and confidence.

"We, the people of South Africa, the preamble to our constitution states, believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

In the second decade of democracy, he hoped the past would inspire South Africans to celebrate "our own demonstration of the capacity of human beings to progress, to go forward, to improve, to do better.

'Human beings who are prepared to trust'

"Let us never be unmindful of the terrible past from which we come - that memory not as a means to keep us shackled to the past in a negative manner, but rather as a joyous reminder of how far we have come and how much we have achieved."

Mandela said there was reason for despair in the world as leading democracies manipulated multilateral bodies to the disadvantage and suffering of the poorer developing nations.

"We signal that good can be achieved among human beings who are prepared to trust, prepared in the goodness of people," he said.

As the two men left the hall, with Mandela holding on to De Klerk's right arm for support, ANC members rose from their seats and sang Show us the Way to Freedom. - I-Net Bridge(News24)/Sapa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.