Speech by Nelson Mandela announcing the ANC election victory

South African History Online

Speech by Nelson Mandela announcing the ANC election victory

Carlton Hotel, Johannesburg, 2 May 1994

My fellow South Africans - the people of South Africa:

This is indeed a joyous night. Although not yet final, we have received the
provisional results of the election, and are delighted by the overwhelming
support for the African National Congress.

To all those in the African National Congress and the democratic movement who
worked so hard these last few days and through these many decades, I thank you
and honour you. To the people of South Africa and the world who are watching:
this a joyous night for the human spirit. This is your victory too. You helped
end apartheid, you stood with us through the transition.

I watched, along with all of you, as the tens of thousands of our people
stood patiently in long queues for many hours. Some sleeping on the open ground
overnight waiting to cast this momentous vote.

South Africa's heroes are legend across the generations. But it is you, the
people, who are our true heroes.

This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country. I stand
here before you filled with deep pride an joy: - pride in the ordinary, humble
people of this country. You have shown such a calm, patient determination to
rectal this country as your own.

- and joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops - free at last!

I stand before you humbled by your courage, with a heart full of love for all
of you. I regard it as the highest honour to lead the ANC at this moment in our
history, and that we have been chosen to lead our country into the new century.

I pledge to use all my strength and ability to live up to your expectations
of me as well as of the ANC.

I am personally indebted and pay tribute to some of South Africa's greatest
leaders including John Dube, Josiah Gumede GM Naicker, Dr Abduraman, Chief
Lutuli, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Yusuf Dadoo, Moses Kotane, Chris Hani an
Oliver Tambo. They should have been here to celebrate with us, for this is their
achievement too.

Tomorrow, the entire ANC leadership and I will be back at our desks. We are
rolling up our sleeves to begin tackling the problems our country faces. We ask
you all to join us - go back to your jobs in the morning. Let's get South Africa

For we must, together and without delay, begin to build a better life for all
South Africans. This means creating jobs building houses, providing education
and bringing peace and security for all.

The calm and tolerant atmosphere that prevailed during the elections depicts
the type of South Africa we can build. It set the tone for the future. We might
have our differences, but we are one people with a common destiny in our rich
variety of culture, race and tradition.

People have voted for the party of their choice and we respect that. This is

I hold out a hand of friendship to the leaders of all parties and their
members, and ask all of them to join us in working together to tackle the
problems we face as a nation. An ANC government will serve all the people of
South Africa, not just ANC members.

We also commend the security forces for the sterling work done. This has laid
a solid foundation for a truly professional security force, committed to the
service of the people and loyalty to the new constitution.

Now is the time for celebration, for South Africans to join together to
celebrate the birth of democracy. I raise a glass to you all for working so hard
to achieve what can only be called a small miracle. Let our celebrations be in
keeping with the mood set in the elections, peaceful, respectful and
disciplined, showing we are a people ready to assume the responsibilities of

I promise that I will do my best to be worthy of the faith and confidence you
have placed in me and my organisation, the African National Congress. Let us
build the future together, and toast a better life for all South Africans.

Nelson Mandela
2 May 1994

Last updated : 31-Mar-2011

This article was produced by South African History Online on 31-Mar-2011

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