22 April 2004
Speaking at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London on 14 April 2004, Dr Mabuza said: "We pay tribute to the Commonwealth for its intimate, incisive and independent study [by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons' Group in 1986] of the political crisis in our country -- a study, brought to the attention of the world, that helped change the course of history."
Dr Mabuza praised the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Singapore in 1971, which condemned colonial domination and declared its opposition to the "unmitigated evil" of racial discrimination. She pointed out that the Gleneagles Agreement on Sporting Contacts with South Africa, signed in the UK in 1977, which saw Commonwealth nations boycotting South Africa until it renounced apartheid, was an action that further isolated the apartheid regime.
27 April marks the 10th anniversary of South African democracy, freedom, peace and progress. It was on 27 April 1994 that the world watched in a state of joy, relief, even awe at the remarkable scenes being played out across the land."
She said South Africa has come a long way since the first all-race elections a decade ago, which marked the dawning of democracy when all citizens were able to cast their votes.
On the 10th anniversary of our democracy, we are proud to state that post-apartheid South Africa has delivered peace where before there was blood-soaked conflict. As we pause to mark this 10th anniversary of our liberation, we also reaffirm our commitment to make the second decade of freedom -- and the decades and the centuries ahead -- a future where Africa, the developing world, our Commonwealth and the world in general will have banished forever the legacies of an unjust, cruel and divided past," said Dr Mabuza.
Beginning this month, a year-long programme of activities are being organised in the UK to celebrate South Africa's decade of freedom. The events kick off on Sunday, 25 April, when Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu conducts a thanksgiving evening service at St Paul's Cathedral in London. This will be followed by a musical celebration at Trafalgar Square on Tuesday, 27 April, with entertainers from South Africa and the UK.
CNIS - the Commonwealth News and Information Service Issue 180 21 April 2004