Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zumas
Opening Address to the London Solidarity Conference,
London, UK, 24 October 2003
Members of the South African delegation,
Comrades and Friends
On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa
it is a great privilege and honour for me to welcome
you all here this evening at the opening of what we
all expect to be a very productive conference.
It is indeed a great pleasure for many of us to be
once again among so many friends and allies with whom
we have struggled together in the long walk to African
This is a historic conference in that, on the eve of
the 10th anniversary of our democratic transformation,
we have gathered in London, together with our allies
and supporters, to review developments in South Africa
since 1994 and discuss how we can together meet the
challenges for the period after 2004.
It is an important engagement because whilst we review
the decade of freedom we need to consider how far we
have overcome the destructive legacy of apartheid and
pause to reflect and assess what the real challenges
are in the next decade and how, in partnership we can
respond to them so as to create a better South Africa,
Africa and the world.
This is also an occasion for us to thank the people
of Britain and Europe and indeed people all over the
world, who, through various anti-apartheid and other
support structures joined forces and developed into
one of the most formidable and powerful solidarity movement
of our time which was able to mobilise effectively to
help advance the struggle for African liberation.
We also need to remember that this soldidarity movement
was not limited to just supporting the South African
liberation struggle but that of the peoples of the African
It was in 1959 that the British people responded to
the call of our leaders in South Africa and Africa for
a boycott of apartheid South Africa by establishing
the Boycott Movement. After the Sharpeville massacre
in 1960 it was renamed the Anti-Apartheid Movement in
recognition of the fact that a concentrated campaign
to boycott apartheid goods was not enough. What was
required was a permanent organisation to take on the
wider responsibility to help eradicate the apartheid
system. Hence the Movement began to work for the freedom
of all Southern African countries that were still under
colonial and apartheid rule. Many of its campaigns in
the sixties and later were focussed on supporting the
struggles in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique,
Guinea Bissau and South Africa.
We also need to recall that in Britain, as in other
countries, there were also notable support organisations
and prominent personalities who were active before this
period I recall the Movement for Colonial Freedom
and Fenner Brockway as well as Canon Collins of Christian
Action who raised funds in defence of political prisoners
and especially for the 1956 Treason Trial and later
the Rivonia Trial.
One of the fundamental principles of the solidarity
movements was to support the struggle of the African
people and not to determine how they should conduct
that struggle. At the same time they worked under the
guidance of those on the frontline of the struggle as
well as the Organisation of African Unity and the United
We also thank you for allowing Africans living in your
countries to participate in your organisations.
You will understand if today, in thanking you for your
long and steadfast support and solidarity we are not
just doing it for South Africa but for Southern Africa
and the continent. It was not just a struggle against
colonialism and race rule but for justice, peace and
the assertion of human dignity.
When we asked you to isolate the apartheid regime and
boycott South African goods you did so today
Democratic South Africa asks you to buy from South Africa
and Africa and open your markets to our products.
We asked you not to travel to apartheid South Africa
today we invite you to visit our country and
experience personally the Free South Africa you have
helped to create.
We asked you to withdraw investments from the apartheid
system today we ask you to increase your investments
and trade and assist us to transform our economy.
We asked you to boycott apartheid sport today
we ask you to increase sports exchanges with non-racial
We asked you to urge pension and other funds to divest
from apartheid today we ask you to mobilise collectively
to encourage them and others to invest in development
projects in Africa and elsewhere to promote economic
and social development.
Poverty is the single major threat to humanity. Today
the world has the necessary resources to eliminate poverty
and we need to work together to achieve that.
In the globalised world that we inhabit we have to
work together to ensure that we create a just and equitable
rules based system of governance.
Today is an auspicious day: 24 October is United Nations
day and it is appropriate that we recall that because
we also managed to achieve so much through the United
Nations. Today the very role and authority of the UN
is being questioned and it is our duty to reform it
and make it responsive to the needs of humanity as a
whole. In todays unipolar world we need to strengthen
multilateralism and ensure that the United Nations is
able to protect us all by ensuring collective security
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa at 27-82-990-4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
24 October 2003