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Remarks During a Visit to the Victoria Mxenge Housing Project in Cape Town, South Africa

March 26, 1998

The President. Thank you very much. Madam Mayor, Patricia, thank you all for making us feel so welcome.

I really didn't have a choice about coming here because my wife said to me when she got home one year ago from South Africa, she said, "You will not believe this housing project I visited. These women are building their own houses. They're saving their own money. They're moving out of shacks and shanty villages into nice neighborhoods with good houses and a good future for their children, and they're helping themselves. And I want you to go and see it."

And perhaps you have this situation in your family, but when Hillary says she wants me to go and see something, that means: You are going to see this at the first moment. [Laughter]

So we got in late last night, and we got up this morning, and we came out here. I thank Mrs. Mbeki back there for showing us her home. Thank you, ma'am, and congratulations to you on your nice home. And I thank the ladies who are here who let me visit their construction project. And I said almost 30 years ago I actually spent the whole summer building houses. And when I was out helping you I realized it's pretty hard work, and that's why I went into politics, so I wouldn't have to work so hard anymore. [Laughter]

Let me also say, on a serious note, I believe what you are doing here—building your homes, saving for them, taking a small amount of money, and building a very nice house—should be a model for people who don't have a lot of money all over Africa and all over the world. If you can do it here, then in villages all over the world, people can do the same thing.

And I came here today partly in the hope that through the coverage from——

[At this point, there was a gap in the transcript due to an incomplete audiotape. The balance of the President's remarks are joined in progress.]

The President. ——that all over the world people will see what you are doing in this neighborhood and say, "I want my neighborhood to be like that. I want my children to live in good homes. I want them to have a good future. I want people to believe that they can do better with their lives." And we intend to support you.

Today I'm pleased to announce that our United States AID program, which supports projects like this, will spend another $3 million this year to try to help build more houses to make more success stories so we can see more people like Mrs. Mbeki and her family.

Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 11:45 a.m. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor Theresa Soloman of Cape Town; and Patricia Matolengwe, director, and Veliswa Mbeki, founding member, Victoria Mxenge Housing Project. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of the First Lady.

William J. Clinton, Remarks During a Visit to the Victoria Mxenge Housing Project in Cape Town, South Africa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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