[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book II)]
[October 5, 1994]
[Pages 1698-1699]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Congressional Black Caucus Luncheon for President
Nelson Mandela of South Africa
October 5, 1994

    Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. President, Members of 
Congress, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House. Welcome to 
this occasion marking what Martin Luther King once called ``a joyous 
daybreak to end the long night of captivity.''
    Most of you in this room, through your prayers and your actions, 
helped to keep freedom's flame lit during the dark night of apartheid in 
South Africa. Now here we are: South Africa is free; Nelson Mandela is 
President. Some dreams really do come true.
    We are also here because of our own ongoing struggle against racism 
and intolerance and division. Over the years South Africans and 
Americans have shared ideas and drawn strength from one another. The 
NAACP was founded just a few months before the African National 
Congress, and close bonds were forged between two of the greatest 
leaders our two countries have produced, Nobel Prize winners Albert 
Luthuli and Dr. King.
    Over the years Americans raised a powerful, unified voice for 
justice and change in South Africa that would not go unheard. A diverse 
coalition spread the word: churches, universities, human rights 
organizations; ultimately, banks, businesses, cities, and State 
governments. The tools they wielded, cultural and economic sanctions, 
divestment, international isolation, ultimately helped to force the 
apartheid regime to end more than four decades of repression.
    At the center of this movement stood the Congressional Black Caucus. 
The caucus helped to raise the consciousness of all Americans to the 
terrible injustice of apartheid, and it consistently acted upon a deep-
rooted commitment to South Africa's freedom. Representative Ron Dellums 
introduced the first antiapartheid legislation in 1972, the year the CBC 
was founded. It took 14 more years, the unbending will of the CBC, and 
ultimately the willingness of Congress to override a veto. But you 
persevered, you prevailed. And today we can say, South Africa's triumph 
is your triumph, too. And we thank you.
    Now that freedom and democracy have won, they must be nurtured. And 
that is the ultimate purpose of President Mandela's visit to us in the 
United States. Working with Congress and the private sector, our 
administration is helping to promote trade with and investment in South 
Africa, not only for the good of South Africans but in our own interests 
as well. The private sector, which made its weight felt in the fight 
against apartheid, must now lead the effort to build a prosperous South 
Africa. This is not, I say again, about charity. It's about opportunity, 
opportunity for South Africans, opportunity for Americans.
    We must also help South Africa to create jobs, housing, and schools; 
to improve health care; to fight illiteracy and poverty. These are 
challenges with which the new South Africa must contend, now and 
vigorously. And rising to meet them, South Africa will become a model 
for all of Africa.
    Let me add that our concern must not end with South Africa. For all 
its problems, Africa is a continent of tremendous promise and progress. 
I reject the Afro-pessimism, as it's been called, that is often 
expressed around this city. That's why we'll provide some $3 billion to 
Africa this year, directly and through international organizations, for 
economic assistance and humanitarian relief; why we've had the first-
ever conference on Africa recently that many of you have participated 
in; why we're working through sustainable development and debt relief, 
through peacekeeping and conflict resolution, through diplomacy and 
military conversion, to take advantage of the opportunities for 
democracy and development on the African Continent.

[[Page 1699]]

    We owe our new partnership with South Africa to the man I have been 
privileged to host in Washington this week. President Mandela, by the 
simple justice of your cause and the powerful force of your example, you 
have inspired millions of Americans and millions more throughout the 
world. We are in your debt, not only for what you have done for South 
Africa but for what you have done for us, for what you have made us 
believe again about what we might become and what we might do here at 
    Let me close with the words of the poet Jennifer Davis, which she 
wrote in tribute to Albert Luthuli. They apply equally well to you: 
``Bounded, you gave us knowledge of freedom; silenced, you taught us how 
to speak.''
    President Mandela.

Note: The President spoke at 12:46 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the 
White House.