The Presidential Years

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NRM: Well, it’s difficult now to remember what was in your mind except that I knew now that I was being inaugurated as the first black President of South Africa and I was aware of the impossible task before me. I had to go forward to add to what to our people did in the battlefield as well as what De Klerk did of announcing publicly that the time of apartheid is past, I’m going to unban the political organisations, release political prisoners and allow the exiles to come back and these are the things which impressed me tremendously, the courage of our people who refused to give in, fought back and then the contribution of De Klerk. Who made, who avoided, who made South Africans to avoid costly civil war. If it was not for him we probably would have still been fighting a very costly civil war today. That’s why I’m so indebted to him.

DD: What did you make of half the world coming to Pretoria to watch your inauguration?

NRM: Oh well, that was a very encouraging signal and I never imagined that the world would give us the support we enjoyed. And to be known as a miracle country, I have ever expected that but that gave us a lot of pride

DD: Why didn’t

NRM: and inspiration

DD: Why didn’t you expect it?

NRM: No, because we belonged to a country which had been condemned by the entire world. And banned from the United Nations and other world bodies and I thought to myself that negative perception would continue for quite some time after liberation. But I was surprised, it didn’t continue.

Original Source

Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, NMF, Johannesburg

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