Toast at the Official Luncheon in Honour
of President George W Bush
9 July 2003
Mrs Laura Bush,
Honoured members of the United States delegation,
Ladies, gentlemen and friends
I am delighted to extend a very warm welcome to you
Mr President, Mrs Laura Bush, Barbara Bush and the rest
of the US delegation. I am also pleased, Mr. President,
to congratulate you on your 57th birthday, which you
celebrated last Sunday.
I am happy that during your short visit to our country
we have managed to discuss a number of issues that confront
both our countries and the world, in an open and friendly
You have come to a country that has old and valued
links to yours. The very first patriots in our country,
who mobilised our people for the democratic victory
we secured in 1994, were educated in United States universities
in the 19th century.
In the 20th, when we needed the support of the peoples
of the world to attain our liberty, the people of the
United States stood side by side with us. In the aftermath
of our democratic victory, your country, Mr President,
has worked with us to overcome a centuries-old legacy
of racist domination and apartheid, which it continues
As the eminent representative of such a people, Mr
President, we could not but receive you as a friend
and an honoured guest. Thank you very much for calling
on us, accompanied by your dear wife and daughter and
your distinguished compatriots.
You have graced our shores, the cradle of humanity,
at an important moment in the history of our continent
during which, as Africans, we envisage the real possibility
of the dawn of a new age.
We know that we face formidable challenges on the road
to that new day. But we are convinced, Mr President,
that millions of Africans share a common determination
To achieve that success, we need the continued support
you have already demonstrated. Acting in partnership,
I am confident that our peoples have the possibility
to make a valuable contribution to the rebirth of the
continent from which slaves were transported across
the oceans from Goree Island, which you visited in Senegal,
and from elsewhere on our eastern and western shores.
A significant number of our compatriots live and work
in your country, contributing to the development of
the United States, and enjoying the benefits it offers.
Many of your citizens, whose ancestors were transported
as slaves out of Africa, feel a close affinity to our
country and continent, in the same way that we feel
close to them.
A growing number of your compatriots, both black and
white, live and work in our country, contributing to
the historic effort to create a new South Africa and
a new Africa.
What these ordinary Americans and South Africans are
doing at both ends of the Atlantic Ocean surely says
to both of us that we, as governments, should join hands
in the common striving to help bring about a better
life for all. We are greatly strengthened by the knowledge
that we have you as our partner and friend.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise and raise your glasses
- to the health of President and Mrs Bush, and friendship
between the peoples of South Africa and the United States
of America. The President!