Your Excellency President Museveni;
Ladies and gentlemen;
People of Uganda,
It is a great honour to join you in celebrating the Independence Day of the Republic of Uganda.
When I came to Uganda six years ago, it was shortly after being released from prison, and as an opponent of South Africa's apartheid government. Today I come as the democratically-elected head of a free South Africa. It is with great pride, as well as joy, that I visit your country to bring greetings on your national day from the government and people of South Africa.
The people of South Africa cannot forget the role that the government and people of Uganda played in supporting their liberation. On their behalf may I take this opportunity to say once more: Thank you for your selfless support, most freely given when it was most needed. Your commitment to freedom and justice contributed to the situation where South Africa today is a united, non-racial and non-sexist democracy.
With the support of freedom-loving people across the world, South Africans found her road to freedom, and the way to achieve what many thought would be impossible. Conflict and division have given way to peace and co-operation. The wounds of our country's past are being healed inn the forging of a truly Rainbow Nation.
For your part in all this, and more, South Africa reaches out to embrace the people of Uganda.
Having at last attained out freedom, we can share as an equal in the joy of Africa's recovery of her independence.
It is one of the hallmarks of our continent's history that the celebration of our achievements should also evoke sadness. The striving for nationhood required long struggle and bitter hardship. The oppressors and colonisers exacted a terrible price. We can never forget those who were taken into slavery in foreign lands;those who fell victim to conquest;those who fell in the trenches of struggle for the right of our peoples and our continent to shape their own destiny. May the memory of these sacrifices spur us on to ensure that they were not in vain.
Now that our continent has brought itself to the point at which it can indeed make its own future, the challenges confront us with urgency.
Despite the fabulous wealth of its resources, Africa is threatened by marginalisation within the world economy. Lasting peace still evades parts of our continent - we are all too painfully reminded of the situations in Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia and Somalia. The legacy of poverty has left Africa's children especially vulnerable to disease. It has weakened our capacity to withstand the harsh challenges of climate and to sustain our environment.
Debt has accumulated around Africa's neck like the proverbial millstone. It is a debt whose origins, we believe, justify an appeal to the international community to assist Africa in finding a satisfactory solution to this impediment.
But in the same measure that Africa's past is a burden, it also provides a challenge to steel her resolve to rise up and reclaim her glory.
South Africa is proud to be a part of the collective efforts to address these problems, within the limits of her capacity. Precisely because of our own history, we know the value and the effectiveness of joint efforts and shared responsibility.
It was in pursuit of this commitment that South Africa appointed a Special Representative to support the efforts of the East African leaders in finding a peaceful political solution to the crisis in Burundi. Only the success of such collective efforts to resolve conflicts, and still more of measures to prevent conflict, will create the conditions for the sustained development that will banish poverty, hunger and disease.
Africa's renewal requires increased levels of economic co-operation. The concrete steps taken by Uganda and her regional partners towards East African regional co-operation provide encouragement for similar moves in Southern Africa.
Your Excellency: Friends
If I say yet again that we are happy to be with you today, it is because your invitation, and our presence here, reflect the growing bonds between Uganda and South Africa.
The ties forged between us in the struggle for freedom now stand us in good stead as we build economic relations that will boost growth in both our economies.
Trade is booming, and it is reflected, I believe, in the continued growth of the South African community in Kampala. We believe that there are opportunities for investment in Uganda which South African business should be encouraged to take, where the investment is done in such a way as to bring lasting additions to the productive capacity of Uganda's economy.
I am very pleased to be able to say that Uganda's diplomatic mission in Pretoria will quite soon be matched by a South African diplomatic mission in Kampala. Thus will the warm relations between our peoples be given the official stamp which they deserve. The building of all-round relations will be given added impetus.
Let me conclude by fulfilling the mission with which I have come to your country today. Allow me to convey to you and to the people of Uganda the best wishes of the government and people of South Africa on this joyous occasion of the 34th anniversary of your Independence Day.
May success crown Uganda's efforts to sustain its remarkable economic growth on the road to national development;and to entrench the commitment to democracy reflected in the elections held earlier this year.
May co-operation between Uganda and South Africa contribute to the renewal of our continent. Let us join hands in a partnership of peace and prosperity.
I thank you.
Issued by: Office of the President