Message from Deputy President Jacob
Zuma read by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
to the South Africa-Burundi Women's Dialogue held at
Essellen Park, Johannesburg, 19 July 2004
The pursuit for peace in the African continent is a
noble and crucial mission.
It is therefore a very significant development that
women from South Africa and Burundi are meeting to discuss
peace in Burundi, as well as the key question of the
participation of women in the peace process and in the
democratic order that will emerge after the elections.
We welcome all the Burundian sisters present at this
dialogue, and wish them a wonderful stay and fruitful
exchanges with their South African counterparts.
Our two countries have gone through internecine conflict,
and women have borne the brunt of the conflict in different
ways. The dialogue between the sisters from the two
countries is therefore of benefit not only to the Burundians
but to the continent as a whole, given the renewed quest
for peace and stability in Africa. Women have a key
role to play in the resolution of conflicts and in working
for peace and stability, and this engagement this week
indicates an execution of that responsibility.
As our Burundian sisters would be aware, South African
women were actively involved in the struggle for the
liberation of their country. They have also waged a
successful struggle for emancipation and for the recognition
of women's rights as human rights; hence the participation
of women in various senior and visible levels particularly
in government and parliament.
Burundi women have their own experiences as well of
working for peace and reconciliation, and their own
struggle for recognition as equal players in the political
and other fields.
This week's dialogue therefore should be about the
sharing of views, experiences and strategies between
the women of Burundi and South Africa as equal partners
in the struggle to establish peace and democracy in
Burundi and the renewal of Africa as a whole.
The recent African Union Summit made it crystal clear
that the continent's leadership is determined to rid
the continent of conflicts, and to ensure the acceleration
of sustainable socio-economic development.
The South Africa-Burundi Women's Dialogue is therefore
in line with the objectives of the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Constitutive Act
of the African Union, as it promotes the building of
a new Africa, free from wars and famine, and free of
discrimination of any forms whether religion, gender
or ethnic origin.
As you would be aware, talks regarding a post-election
power sharing arrangement have been taking place in
Pretoria from yesterday, Sunday the 18th, in line with
the mandate given to us by the Great Lakes Heads of
State Summit of June 5.
President Mbeki and I spent the whole of yesterday
in consultations with President Domitien Ndayizeye of
Burundi, Uprona, CNDD-FDD and Frodebu. We are continuing
the discussions today, hence our inability to join you
at the opening of this Dialogue.
The inclusion of women in the post-election democratic
order, as well as in conflict management and reconciliation
is an issue that you are likely to discuss at length
at this Dialogue. We look forward to seeing your resolutions,
which will undoubtedly be an important contribution
to the peace processes in Burundi, the region and the
We trust that the Dialogue will create a bond between
the women of our two countries. After this week, the
sharing of experiences and expertise will probably continue
in order to build, defend and consolidate the democracy
that will emerge in Burundi after elections.
The dialogue is a step in the right direction, and
we wish you success in your deliberations.
I thank you.