Your Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government
Members of the Diplomatic Corpse
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the people of the Republic of South Africa, I wish to join the millions of Africans on our continent and abroad, as well as all freedom loving humanity in congratulating the people of Nigeria on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria.
Mr President before going any further let me express our heartfelt condolences to you personally, and through you to the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, following the tragic and needless shooting of students recently.
No just course can be advanced by wonton killings of human beings. Therefore this callously horrendous act should be condemned to the strongest possible terms by all sane humanity.
Your Excellency, like Nigeria and the rest of our continent our country South Africa has been shaped by colonial experience. Colonialism in South African in South Africa evolved into apartheid, a crime against humanity.
Yet, throughout the years of struggle we were sustained by the inspiring example of free African nations, not least among them Nigeria and her people.
In the past 100 years Nigeria has walked the distance towards creating conditions for peace, reconciliation, national unity and stability.
Overall reaching this milestone demonstrate that Africa, despite and regardless of its accumulated disabilities, remains set on irreversible course to claim the 21st century as the “African Century”!
Yet, Mr President as we celebrate this historic achievement, we do so conscious that much still needs to be done to emancipate Africa's people from poverty, inequality, unemployment and the burden of diseases.
The absence of peace, security and stability handicaps the development and growth of Africa, hindering our effort to push back the frontiers of under-development.
But as you are aware, much is beginning to change. Our narrative is no longer that of a rudderless, wrecked and wretched continent but that of a continent emerging from stormy waters to anchor itself in new found unity under the African Union and the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development.
The theme of the conference speaks to the plea of young people across the continent whose resonant feelings featured by a young Mozambican Raphael, which reads thus “We want today to be learned tomorrow, we do not want tomorrow to be where we are.”
In conclusion Mr President, let me say that today I stand here confident that South Africa, Africa and the World awaits this Great Giant of Africa to build on its successes and to stride into the next century.
Much as this is a celebration of the milestones of your country, it is equally an ode to our continent.
May Nigeria continue to be an inspiration to many of our countries. May your country continue to make the continent proud with its achievements.
I would like to wish you Mr President the best of health, strength and wisdom. I want to say to the people of Nigeria, like the Super Eagles you'll fly. Africa will rise.
I thank You.