CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Here is the text of Nelson Mandela's formal address Sunday to a rally on the Grand Parade:
Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans, I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.
Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands. Before I go any further, I wish to make the point that I intend making only a few preliminary comments at this stage.
I will make a more public statement only after I have had the opportunity to consult with my comrades.
Today, the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security.
The mass campaigns of defiance and other actions of our organization and people can only culminate with the establishment of democracy.
The apartheid destruction on our sub-continent is incalculable. The fabric of family life of millions of our people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed, our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife.
Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.
The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.
I am a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress. I am therefore in full agreement with all of its objectives, strategies and tactics.
The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take on this enormous task on his own.
It is our task as leaders to place our view before our organization and to allow the democratic structures to decide on the way forward. On the question of democratic practice, I feel duty-bound to make the point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference.
This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.
Today I wish to report to you that my talks with the government have been aimed at normalizing the political situation in the country. We have not as yet begun discussing the basic demands of the struggle. I wish to stress that I, myself, have at no time entered into negotiation about the future of our country, except to insist on a meeting between the ANC and the government.
Mr. de Klerk has gone further than any other Nationalist president in taking real steps to normalize the situation.
However, there are further steps as outlined in the Harare Declaration that have to be met before negotiations on the basic demands of our people can begin.
I reiterate our call for, inter alia, the immediate ending of the state of emergencyand the freeing of all and not only some political prisoners.
Only such a normalized situation, which allows for free political activity, can allow us to consult our people in order to obtain a mandate.
The people need to be consulted on who will negotiate and on the content of such negotiation. Negotiations cannot take place above the heads or behind the backs of our people.
It is our belief that the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a non-racial basis. Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the overwhelming demands of our people for a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa.
There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic system to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratized.
It must be added that Mr. de Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the danger of a public figure not honoring his undertakings.
But as an organization we base our policy and strategies on the harsh reality we are faced with, and this reality is that we are still suffering under the policy of the Nationalist government. Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted.
We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our effort now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive.
The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts. It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured.
We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you too. We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime.
To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid. Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.
Universal suffrage on a common voters' role in a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.
In conclusion, I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964. They are as true today as they were then. I quote: 'I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have carried the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.'
I hope you will disperse with dignity and not a single one of you should do anything which will make other people to say that we can't control our own people.'