THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AT THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA MAY 10, 1994
Thank you so much. This has been an extraordinary day for all of us. I want to start by thanking our Ambassador and Mrs. Lyman for the extraordinary days and weeks that they put in leading up to this, and also thank every member of the United States Government who is stationed here in South Africa who have worked so diligently in order to make America's presence known on the side of democracy, hope and the future. Thank you all for representing our country so well.
As the Ambassador says, we are very grateful to have this distinguished, extraordinary American delegation. Some of the most committed members of Congress -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents -- who have stayed with the struggle on behalf of the new South Africa, over the years, representatives of private industry, our philanthropic community, state governments, academia, the arts, and the military -- we have been blessed by having these people here to demonstrate to the new South Africa, the depth of America's commitment. And then we will be blessed again, as they return home to America to witness to America what has happened here today and what the future holds. That will be the basis of the partnership that the President announced last week and that the Vice President has been speaking about and committing ourselves to during his stay here. We will have witnesses from one end of our country to the other who will stand before American audiences and say that the future of South Africa is inextricably tied to the future of all of us around this globe, and we must stand with you as you proceed.
One of the moments that I will carry with me forever, happened at the lunch today -- many of you were there, others of you were watching it on television -- when President Mandela spoke of inviting three of his former jailers to come to his Inaugural ceremony. He has always represented to many of us who have followed the struggle of this country and its people, the kind of commitment that transcends politics that really does spring from the heart and the soul. And today, by merely saying that he had invited his jailers, he told us more about himself and his vision of South Africa than probably most of the campaign speeches he made so eloquently during the last months. And it reminded me so forcibly of what my husband said during the campaign that he and the Vice President waged. That real change must start from the inside first. That we have to change our hearts and our minds before we can change the conditions we find around us. And that as we dig deep to recognize our common humanity, to understand as President Mandela said, there will always be within each of us, as well as the greater world, the forces of darkness waging its war against the forces of light. Or as he said, the force of love and loyalty.
The fact is that each of us, each South African, and each American, has a role to play because each of us has the power within our grasp to change ourselves, to change our feelings, our attitudes, our beliefs. And I see such possibility not only for your country today, but for our country. Remembering the lessons that lead black and white and colored South Africans to come together to create a political miracle that none would have thought possible a few years ago, knowing that it started from the inside, the hearts, the minds, the souls of human beings. That says to me that there is not only great hope but a very realistic possibility the dreams we heard about today will come to pass. And that we in American will not only be your partner, but we will follow your example as we watch you chart a new future. Thank you and God bless you all.