We are gathered here to celebrate the day we won our freedom. We are gathered here in the Eastern Cape – in the land of heroes and legends – to recall the battles that were fought, the setbacks that were suffered and the great victories achieved along our march to democracy.
I have the honour to address this august body, the United Nations General Assembly for the first time as President of the Republic of South Africa.
I am humbled and honoured to join the community of Sedibeng to mark our country’s Human Rights Day. In the past,we commemorated this day as Sharpeville Day.
It is a great honour and privilege to deliver this State of the Nation Address. This Address should have been delivered last week, but was delayed so that we could properly manage issues of political transition. I wish to thank Honourable Members and the people of South Africa for their patience and forbearance.
Today South Africa marks 41 years since the heroic uprising by the youth of our country on 16 June 1976. This year’s national commemoration is held in the home of our struggle stalwart, JB Marks, whose remains we fetched from Russia and reburied here two years ago, and whose tombstone was unveiled in February this year.
We greet you all on this 23rd anniversary of the dawn of freedom and democracy in our country.
However, we start on a sad note.
The 21st International AIDS Conference, commonly known as AIDS2016, will be held from 18 to 22 July 2016, at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal under the theme: Access Equity Rights – Now.
Our mission since 1994 is to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. This is the task of every South African.
Earlier this year, our country experienced explosions of anger due to racist utterances and writings which reminded South Africans that the vestiges of white supremacy and racism still exist in some sections of society.
Almost two centuries years ago, on this day in 1828, our country and continent lost the legendary King Shaka Zulu at the hands of his brothers.
We converge here a day before the African Union (AU) Pan African Women’s Day which is celebrated annually on the 31st of July. We are encouraged by this AU decision because it recognises one of the oldest women’s formations in Africa, The Pan African Women’s Organisation (PAWO) formed in 1962.