Here is an audio clip excerpt
from Mandela's speech. See below for the transcript.
It follows the full text transcript of
Nelson Mandela's Free at Last speech, delivered at
the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa - May 2, 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 honor 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 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
reclaim 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 honor 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
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,
and Oliver Tambo. They should have been here to
celebrate with us, for this is their achievement
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 working.
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 democracy.
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 government.
I promise that I will do my best to be worthy of
the faith and confidence you have placed in me
and my organization, the African National
Congress. Let us build the future together, and
toast a better life for all South Africans.