[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book II)]
[October 4, 1994]
[Pages 1695-1696]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks Welcoming President Nelson Mandela of South Africa
October 4, 1994

    President Mandela, members of the South African delegation, 
distinguished guests, my fellow Americans, we are here to welcome Nelson 
Mandela back to the United States, but first, to the United States as 
the President of his nation.
    Now, all over the world, there are three words which spoken together 
express the triumph of freedom, democracy, and hope for the future. They 
are ``President Nelson Mandela.'' In you, sir, we see proof that the 
human spirit can never be crushed. For a half century, you pursued your 
ideals, keeping your promise never to surrender, risking all, despite 
danger. For 27 years, we watched you from your prison cell inspire 
millions of your people with your spirit and your words. And when you 
emerged, instead of retribution for past wrongs, you sought peace and 
freedom and equality for your people.
    You are living proof that the forces of justice and reconciliation 
can bridge any divide. Every day, you teach the world that those who 
build triumph over those who tear down, that those who unite can 
actually prevail over those who would divide. Your presence here and the 
growth of a new South Africa are stern rebukes to both the destroyers 
and the cynics of this world.
    The struggle in South Africa has always had a special place in the 
heart of America. For after all, we fought our own most terrible war 
here in our own land over slavery. And our own civil rights movement has 
taken strength and inspiration from and given aid to your fight for 
liberty. Americans take great pride in the role we played in helping to 
overturn apartheid and in supporting the free elections which produced 
your Presidency.
    Now we are working with you to build the new South Africa. The 
challenges you face, poverty, joblessness, homelessness, the despair 
born of long years of deprivation, are as large as they are difficult. 
But we know you will forge ahead, and we know that we here in the United 
States will also be better for your progress. For a thriving South 
Africa, spurring greater prosperity throughout the region, opening new 
markets, that makes us more prosperous, too. And a stable and democratic 
South Africa, working with its neighbors to restore and maintain the 
peace, that makes us more secure as well.
    And perhaps most important of all, in this age of ethnic, religious, 
and racial strife the world over, you can be our partner, and together 
our two nations can show the world that true strength is found when we 
come together despite our differences. We know and you know that 
diversity and progress can go hand-in-hand, indeed, that they must do so 
if we are to give all our people the chance to fulfill their God-given 
    Mr. President, you have brought forth a new nation, conceived in 
liberty and dedicated to equality. Today the American people welcome you 
here, and we salute your stunning achievement. We pledge, as you have 
pledged, that

[[Page 1696]]

we will walk every mile with you and that we will not grow weary on the 
    I say to all of you here, Nkosi Sikelel' i Afrika. God bless Africa. 
And God bless America.

Note: The President spoke at 11:15 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White