Statement at the opening of the 7th All Africa Games – 1999/09/10

Johannesburg, 10 September 1999 

Chairperson of the All Africa Games Organising Committee, Mr. Mthobi Tyamzashe:
President of the Supreme Council of Sport in Africa, Mr Ngcode Balfour,
Athletes of Africa, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

A long and almost circular journey through the various corners of our continent has brought the All Africa Games to a free and democratic South Africa. We, the people of this land, feel greatly honoured and privileged that the peoples of Africa gave us the historic possibility to host the prestigious 7th All Africa Games.

We are very pleased indeed to welcome to our country the thousands of African athletes who have gathered in this famous city of gold, Johannesburg.

The journey of the All Africa Games from Brazzaville to Lagos, to Algiers and Nairobi, to Cairo, Harare and Johannesburg, itself constitutes part of the advance of our Continent towards a brighter future for all our peoples.

This must be a future of the fundamental renewal of our continent, leading to the restoration of the dignity of all our peoples, and driven by a united African effort to turn the 21st century into the century of the African Renaissance.

For us, this must be a century of peace, freedom from hunger, the flowering of the arts and intellectual freedom, excellence in all fields of human endeavour and social progress.

We will succeed in the pursuit of this epoch-making achievement if all of us act together to release all the creative talents of our peoples.

Thus we must strive continuously to create the conditions for our youth to develop a sound mind in a sound body. In this regard, we must pay particular and sustained attention to the fight against the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

Equally, we must say no! to dictatorship which denies the people their freedom and limits their possibility freely to contribute to the development of our countries into peaceful and prosperous component parts of an African continent that cares for the wel fare and happiness of all citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or beliefs.

That Africa’s youth has convened here to compete against one another in conditions of freedom and peace, inspired by a spirit of friendship and solidarity, serves as confirmation that our countries and nations have the capacity themselves to co-operate in conditions of freedom and peace, inspired by the spirit of friendship and solidarity.

Today we see the festival of national flags creating a rich display of colour, symbolising the striving of our Continent towards its unity in diversity.

Notably, Africa’s heads of state and government concluded a successful Extraordinary Summit meeting in Libya only yesterday, having met to look for ways and means to speed up our progress towards the unity of the African continent.

I am honoured to bring to you all their greetings and best wishes for the success of the 7th All Africa Games.

We thank you for blessing us in South Africa with your presence. We wish the athletes, the coaches and the administrators success and joy as they participate in the Games.

May all who have come from afar enjoy the hospitality of this city ad forge everlasting friendships with the people of South Africa.

When you, the sporting ambassadors of Africa return to your homes, may you go back as ambassadors of freedom and peace, of reconciliation, of true liberation, of cultural, social and economic development, of the building of people-centred societies.

As the last All Africa Games of this millennium, let us end this event on a high note of hope.

May the games be entertaining and truly memorable for all who participate in them as competitors and as spectators.

I have the honour to declare the 7th All Africa Games open.



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