REMARKS BY FORMER PRESIDENT FW DE KLERK AT THE OPENING OF THE MAKING PEACE EXHIBITION

making peace9737It is a great pleasure for me to be able to participate in the opening of the International Peace Bureau’s Making Peace exhibition in Cape Town.

This was to have been one of the parallel activities in support of peace that would have been held in conjunction with the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates that should have been held in Cape Town from 13 - 15 October. That event was sadly suspended after Nobel Peace Laureates refused to come to Cape Town because of the Government’s failure to grant the Dalai Lama a visa.

It is nevertheless most welcome and appropriate that we will be able to enjoy this exhibition for the next three months in Cape Town. This is because so many of the momentous developments that led to the peaceful resolution of centuries of division and conflict in South Africa took place right here in Cape Town.

I believe that future historians will regard South Africa’s peaceful transformation as one of the most remarkable and positive developments of the last part of the 20th century. We have shown that even the most intractable problems can be solved peacefully through negotiations and goodwill. 

In a world in which nearly all conflict now takes place between different ethnic, cultural and religious communities within the same countries - we are trying to show how different communities can coexist harmoniously on the basis of shared constitutional values.

The Making Peace exhibition will remind us and visitors to our City of the distance that we have travelled along the road to peace - and the journey that must still be completed before we can achieve the vision of human dignity, equality and non-discrimination that is articulated in our Constitution. 

It will also inspire us with the examples of those - throughout the international community - who have helped to work for peace and who continue to strive for a world without warfare, conflict and violence.

I should like to congratulate Ashley Woods and all those who have made it possible for us and for the people of Cape Town to share in this wonderful display of peace-making.

Photo credit: Adrian de Kock