Bill Clinton photo

The President's Radio Address With President Nelson Mandela of South Africa

October 08, 1994

President Clinton. Good morning. This week I'm honored to be joined by President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, a man who has been a hero for people in every corner of the world. For a long time, the name "Nelson Mandela" has stood for the quest for freedom. His spirit never bent before the injustice of his 27 years of imprisonment. Apartheid could not silence him. And when he was freed, Americans all across this country who had fought for justice in South Africa rejoiced.

After his long struggle, Nelson Mandela found in himself the strength to reach out to others, to build up instead of tear down. He led his country forward, always choosing reconciliation over division. This is the miracle of the new South Africa. Time and again, President Mandela showed real wisdom and rose above bitterness. President Mandela and the South African people, both black and white, have inspired others around the world.

In our own hemisphere today, the people of Haiti are emerging out of fear into freedom. Now Haitians have the chance to do what South Africans have done, to bring together a country where there have been deep and bloody divisions. It can be done, and the United States stands ready to help.

We must do all we can to help civil societies free themselves from the shackles of repression, to sustain their fragile democracies, and to defeat the forces of destruction that threaten all of us. That's why America stands with Nelson Mandela and the South African people through economic assistance, through trade and investment to help them to build the thriving democracy they so richly deserve, and why we're working to help the Haitian people stand up and reclaim their freedom and their future, too.

Now I'd like to ask President Mandela to speak with you.

[At this point, President Mandela discussed his visit to the United States and thanked the American people for their friendship.]

President Clinton. Thank you, Mr. President. This week I pledged to President Mandela that the United States will continue to support his nation just as we have since before his election. And I want to encourage all of our citizens and especially our businesses to accept the President's invitation to invest, to build in his country, to visit his country. A flourishing South Africa involved in the rest of the world is in our interest.

President Mandela was right the other day when he called the transformation of his country an achievement of all humanity. The kind of peaceful development we're seeing in South Africa will inspire progress all around the world. Now South Africa is a model for building the open, tolerant societies that share our values. And when we look around the world at the stirring changes in Russia, the moving developments in Northern Ireland, the stunning achievements of the peace initiatives in the Middle East, we see the prospects for democracy and peace growing. Our mission is to build a new world for our children, more democratic, more prosperous, more free of ancient hatreds and modern means of destruction. This is no easy task. But more nations than ever are choosing democracy, and more are embracing the values of tolerance that allow each of us to make the most of our God-given potential. Freedom is on the march, and that is good news for all of us.

Once again, let me thank the symbol of freedom for the world, President Mandela, for visiting us here in the United States. And thank you all for listening.

NOTE: The address was recorded at 4:53 p.m. on October 7 in the East Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on October 8.

William J. Clinton, The President's Radio Address With President Nelson Mandela of South Africa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives