Address on the Occasion of the Signing
of the Peace Agreement between the Governments of the
DRC and Rwanda, 30 July 2002
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Chairperson
of the African Union,
Your Excellency President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and
Chairperson of SADC,
Your Excellency President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic
Republic of Congo,
Your Excellency President Paul Kagame of Rwanda,
Your Excellency Amara Essy, Interim Chairperson of the
Commission of the African Union,
Your Excellency Ms Lena Fundh, distinguished representative
of the Secretary General of the United Nations, His
Excellency, Mr Kofi Annan,
Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Distinguished representatives of international organisations,
Members of the press,
Comrades, ladies and gentlemen
We meet here today to participate in the solemn occasion
of the signing of a peace agreement between two sister
African countries that are very dear to us, the Democratic
Republic of Congo and the Republic of Rwanda.
We are especially honoured that our two brothers and
leaders, Presidents Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame are
with us today as we take a giant step forward towards
the renaissance of Africa.
We are very pleased and inspired that we also have
with us both the Chairperson of the African Union and
the Interim Chairperson of the Commission of the Union.
The presence with us of the representative of the Secretary-General
of the United Nations, as African of whom we are immensely
proud, Kofi Annan, confirms to us the historical importance
of this occasion.
We thank the Ambassadors and High Commissioners who
are here, a number of whom represent both their countries
and various multilateral organisations.
I speak to you as a South African and an African. I
speak for a people made up of many races, colours and
origins that have known centuries of war and death.
I represent a people who know the benefits of the dividend
of peace, who look forward to a life free of poverty
I speak as a member of an African liberation movement
that fourth for a free and peaceful Africa even before
it was formally constituted, 90 years ago.
I represent a people who are still in struggle, who
count among their heroes and leaders, the immortal Congolese
and African patriot, Patrice Lumumba.
Accordingly, I stand here to say to all our African
sisters and brothers that, in our millions, we have
been comrades-in arms in the common struggle for liberation.
We have shared the immense pain inflicted on all of
us by neo-colonialism, racism, dictatorship, genocide
and civil war.
I stand on this podium to make the firm commitment
to the people of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic
of Congo, to the whole of Africa, to the peoples of
the world, that this African republic which is honoured
to host you, democratic South Africa, will always roar
and act as a lion for the renaissance of Africa.
When you, the leaders of the DRC and Rwanda reached
an agreement in favour of peace and African solidarity,
you gave us cause to feel proud to be African. Through
the agreement you will sign today, you made the statement
that Africa shall be at peace.
You set the point for the start of Africa's new age
when, together, as the African Union was being born,
we said there will be no more genocide. We will not
allow that another cuts anybody's limbs. We will not
agree that the barrel of the gun determines who rules.
We will not accept that the principle is compromised,
that the people shall govern.
We are here to tell all Africa and the world that regardless
and because of our common and troubled past, we have
taken the decision that Africa will manage and determine
its own rebirth.
Your agreement as Rwandans and Congolese has made the
statement that as Africans, we are justified in our
conviction that the African Union and its New Partnership
for Africa's Development, represent a new and extraordinary
beginning for a continent that , for centuries, has
known nothing but subjugation, humiliation and immense
Today, you, representatives of the Congolese and Rwandan
people, who need no introduction to the African experience,
have gathered in our capital to give our people and
ours, there rare gift of hope.
You have come here to give practical expression to
the dream of millions of African, from the confidence
of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans to the Mediterranean,
that the Sun God will always smile on Africa.
There are many who will do their best to ensure that
we fail. There will seek to convince us that nothing
African can succeed.
Today, thanks to your patriotism as Africans, you have
helped all of us to make the statement that these sceptics
are wrong, and we are right, regardless of our problems.
Today, the Democratic Republic of Congo says we are
right. Rwanda says we are right. Burundi says we are
right. Only the other day, Sudan said we are right.
Angola says we are right. Sierra Leone says we are right.
The Comoros says we are right. Lesotho says we are
We know that Africa's problems continue. But we reaffirm
that so does Africa's struggle. Together, as Africans,
we proclaim -victory is certain!
Africa will win!
God bless you, and God bless Africa!