Here is the text of Nelson Mandela's speech Tuesday at his
inauguration as president of South Africa:
YOUR MAJESTIES, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished guests,
comrades and friends.
Today, all of us do - by our presence here, and by our
celebrations in other parts of our country and the world - confer
glory and hope to newborn liberty.
Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that
lasted too long must be born a society of which all humanity will
Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an
actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief
in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human
soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.
All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the
world who are so well-represented here today.
To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one
of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful
country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the
mimosa trees of the bushveld.
Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a
sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons
We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass
turns green and the flowers bloom.
That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this
common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in
our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in terrible
conflict, and as we saw it spurned, outlawed and isolated by the
peoples of the world, precisely because it had become the universal
base of the pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial
We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity
has taken us back into its bosom, that we, who were outlaws not so
long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to
the nations of the world on our own soil.
We thank all our distinguished international guests for having
come to take possession with the people of our country of what is,
after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human
We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the
challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism
We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and
their political mass democratic, religious, women, youth, business,
traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this
conclusion. Not least among them is my second deputy president, the
Honorable F.W. de Klerk.
We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in
all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in
securing our first democratic elections and the transition to
democracy from bloodthirsty forces which still refuse to see the