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Wednesday, June 16, 1999 Published at 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK

World: Africa

Nelson Mandela's speech: Full text

Nelson Mandela: A much-loved president bows out in style

Comrades, a little while ago we inaugurated our new President, Thabo Vuyilwa Mbeki.

For almost one-and-a-half years he led the African National Congress as president.

For more than three years, he is the man who actually ran the government of this country.

During the last six months or so, he travelled down and up the country, mobilizing our people so that at the end of that campaign they should tell us what to do.

They have spoken in a very clear manner after such a hard and long campaign in which we as the political leaders of different organizations slaughtered one another in words and deed.

But now the people have spoken and all the leaders of our political organizations represented in Parliament forgot their differences and congratulated our new president and wished him good luck.

Now the task of the new president and the majority party is going to make all those leaders to forget what we said against them and what they said against us, and they clearly demonstrated their leadership qualities, by now acknowledging that that good fight is over and the people of South Africa have spoken, and elected their president.

It is now the task of the president and the African National Congress to unite our country and to forget those differences and I have no doubt that we have a capable man who will rise up to the challenges that face him.

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