Address on Receiving the Freedom of
the City of Kingston Jamaica, 30 June 2003
Leaders of the City of Kingston,
Friends, brothers and sisters,
I am honoured by the warm welcome extended to us by
the wonderful people of Jamaica, and in particular,
its capital city, Kingston.
I am deeply moved to receive the 'Freedom of the City
of Kingston', making me a fellow resident of this great
city, where once legendary citizens such as the Honourable
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Norman and Michael Manley lived.
This City produced some of the most talented practitioners
in the musical arts, and shared with the world the creativity
of these residents.
No endowment can surpass the gift of freedom to share
with a people their rights, culture, history and residence,
with all the glory that goes with their city.
In South Africa we have a saying which reads: 'you
are because I am, and I am because you are', and so
it is that South Africans are liberated in no small
measure because of you. We owe you so much.
The ties that bind us, despite our physical separation
by the Atlantic Ocean, are anchored in a painful and
yet rich history of suffering and triumph from the shackles
of slavery, colonial and racist oppression.
We are greatly inspired by the fact that you took up
the struggle against Apartheid colonialism as your own.
We thank you most sincerely for honouring that great
leader we all share, Nelson Mandela, as a tribute to
the unconquerable strength of the spirit to be free.
Your mother continent, Africa, has embarked on an exciting
but challenging journey towards its renaissance. Accordingly,
the Organisation of African Unity has given way to the
African Union, which has among other things adopted
its development programme, the New Partnership for Africa's
At the heart of the initiatives of NEPAD is the common
resolve of the peoples of our continent truly to take
their destiny into their own hands and succeed in building
a better life for themselves. Surely, we are intelligent
enough to learn from our successes and failures, so
that we do not repeat what is wrong, but build on what
has been proved to be right. I am convinced that our
development challenges are the same as those that face
Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean. The Renaissance
we speak of in Africa today is not confined to the physical
boundaries of the African continent, but includes Africa's
sons and daughters in the Caribbean and elsewhere on
The fact that we share these challenges, is a clear
pointer to the reality that we share a common destiny.
We therefore need to build on our close historical ties
of solidarity and friendship, developing our cooperation
to deal with the problems of poverty, underdevelopment
and global marginalisation.
In as much as we have said that we need unity within
Africa to achieve the advances Africa must make, we
have also said that all people of African descent, wherever
they are, in Africa and in the Diaspora, should act
in unity to overcome the problems we all face universally.
Our advances in this new context of struggle are predicated
on tapping all our resources, both on the continent
and in the Diaspora.
Marcus Garvey championed the unity of the oppressed
as a condition for our movement forward. This unifying
philosophy still resonates today, though in a different
world, a world marked by globalisation as the defining
characteristic of the world social and economic system.
The Honourable Marcus Garvey raised the need for all
Africans in the Diaspora to return to the 'Mother Continent',
Africa, where they could make a contribution, by helping
to fight colonialism and rebuilding their continent
once freedom was achieved.
The terrible journeys that brought our ancestors to
these shores, have given you Jamaica as your physical
and beloved home. Yet we could achieve "the return
to Africa" that Marcus Garvey spoke of, in many
symbolic and practical ways, by for example responding
to the call to combine our efforts and resources for
the upliftment of African people everywhere.
I am certain that, acting together, Jamaica and South
Africa, Kingston and Tshwane (or Pretoria) can and will
make an important contribution towards the achievement
of these goals.
On behalf of all our people and in my name, I thank
you most sincerely for the important gift of the Freedom
of the City of Kingston, Jamaica.