Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the National Congress of
Black Women After Receiving the Good Brother Award on
behalf of President Thabo Mbeki, Washington, USA 12
Honourable Members of Congress,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted to accept this honour on behalf of President
Mbeki. Though I am perhaps a little bias, there are
few leaders in today's world who more genuinely deserve
to be recognised in this way. President Mbeki is truly
a "Good Brother" to the women of Africa, the
diaspora and the world,
He is grateful, and humbled, that you have chosen him
for this award. He would have loved to be here today
had his calendar permitted. President Mbeki recognises
with deep gratitude the work of the National Congress
Black Women as you celebrate 20 years of advancing
the empowerment of Black Women.
This is indeed a happy coincidence that we are also
celebrating 10 years of victory for Democracy, non racialism
and non sexism. This victory of course is as much ours
as it is yours,
You were with us during the difficult days of our struggle
and you are still with us today in our struggle against
poverty and underdevelopment and more importantly you
are still with us in this global struggle against racism
We have tried to ensure gender friendly policies, of
course some of the things I will mention are things
that you take for granted in this part of the world.
Provision of water, electricity has freed millions of
women from spending their time walking long distances
in search of water and firewood. Women have now got
access to land, health services and girls' access to
education. Women can now own business.
They have maternity leave and other benefits. There
are of course still many challenges because not all
women have access to what I have mentioned yet but a
good foundation has been laid over the past decade.
The struggle continues of course.
Together we share the conviction that women must take
leadership positions in all sectors of society if countries
and communities are to develop to their full potential.
The contribution of women is vital for peace, stability
the resolution of conflict, for the eradication of poverty
and for the creation for a more humane world.
Our government tries to lead by example. Out of 28
Cabinet Ministers, 12 are women. Though this is not
enough, we are moving in the right direction. 4 out
of the 9 Provincial Premiers' are women. Parliament
has close to 30% of women.
We are also working hard internationally, in our continent
and in the world for the implementation of the Beijing
Platform. I am particularly proud that the African Union
is the one and only international organisation that
decided to have at least 50% women in its Commission.
South Africa contributed very strongly to have that
Now the AU (African Union) has gone further to say
all its institutions should strive for gender parity,
and that alS public institutions in member states should
also strive for parity and that the Heads of States
should report every year to the Assembly of Heads of
State on progress in this regard.
Since the President cannot be here personally I would
like to share with you an address he gave last month
to the South African chapter of the International Association
of Women Judges. He took as his text for the occasion
the word of Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first
African American woman appointed to the US Federal Court
for the Southern District of New York.
"Surveys" Judge Motley said over a quarter
of a century ago, "have shown that women are inclined
to be more concerned with ethics, community projects,
good schools and furthering general welfare, which concern
is reflected in their voting habits."
Women representatives, likewise, reflect in the conduct
of their political careers a deep interest in, and dedication
to, the higher aspect of public service."
Judge Motley continued. "This is probably due,
in part, to the fact that women must still prove themselves
professionally in competition with men in an atmosphere
of considerable prejudice against their sex. But it
must also be due to the natural tendency of women to
desire passionately a world without war and a society
For President Mbeki, Judge Motley's insights are key
to realising the vision of the African Renaissance.
Without the full emancipation and empowerment of women
our Continent is likely to remain synonymous to the
world's eyes with poverty, disease, conflict and misrule,
This baneful reputation will continue to shackle the
dreams and prospects of everyone of African descent
wherever they may live.
Africa's women are rising to the challenge. We are
living, President told the judges' association, through
a moment of great awakening. The ordinary people of
our continents are beginning to set their own agenda,
In action they are saying that the demagogues and the
time-servers and the men who behave like "little
gods" will not determine what they, the people,
will do today and tomorrow.
"It is the women of Africa," the President
continued, "who are leading the charge, They have
been the principle victims of oppression and war, poverty
and marginalization, the loss of human dignity and dehumanization
and even genocide. And they are saying that now is the
time to end all that."
"In action they are making the statement that
they want to see a new Africa motivated to address the
concerns identified by Judge Motley, This is a new Africa
motivated to address the concerns identified by Judge
Motley. This is a new Africa that must focus its attention
on "ethics, community projects, good schools and
furthering general welfare".
"It is a new Africa whose governments and public
representatives must demonstrate "dedication to
the highest aspects of the public service" It is
renewed Africa that reconstructs itself as "a world
without war and a society without chaos whose institutions
are dedicated to serve "the best interest of humanity."
Let me close by thanking you again for the recognition
you have bestowed on South Africa with this award to
President Mbeki. I will leave you with his own parting
words to the judges association. They are equally apt
here: "I am certain that, as women, you have the
possibility to define what the 21st Century will be,
Certainly, it should not and cannot distinguish itself
as yet another age characterised by the oppression of
women and the impoverishment of billions. Together we
have the collective strength and the obligation to give
birth to a new world."
We are also aware of your interest in conflict resolution
that South Africa, led by our President is involved
in. The AU (African Union) is also striving to end ail
conflicts. We are seized with the situation in Sudan.
I am aware of your own efforts for the resolution of
I thank you.