THE OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT OF THE WELCOMING ADDRESS ADDRESS TO NELSON MANDELA
DELIVERED BY OSAGYEFO DR KWAME NKRUMAH
Sir, it is with great honour and humility that we all gathered here this very exciting moment welcome you as one of our own. A mighty and accomplished son of the land has joined us today, not as a fallen hero as the living would want to believe, but as a legend and an immortal for all time.
We have waited for this day for a long time. We have stood at the gate of time and eternity hoping and praying for you to be free and feel ageless again. Alas, today you have obliged us and joined the choicest array of gallant men whom through their sweat, blood and back, have fought every kind of battle to make the lot of our people a better one.
Some of us were given bad names and hanged, like the proverbial dog. You, however, most wisely, learnt early enough the art of sleeping with the enemy in the same bed and slipping out with your throat intact. I bet we all could have learnt a few tips from you. [crowd laughs]
It is however, important we state that the task ahead of those who are alive and are attempting to walk in our shoes is a huge and tremendous one. You would all appreciate my daily trepidation as I sit here and watch petty politics and misguided ambitions take their eyes off the focal point of their shots.
In the 50s, we took a shot at the future; a future where the African was capable of managing his own affairs; a future where the black man was not disadvantaged because of his skin colour. We looked at a future where doors opened to the black man because of what he was capable of bringing to the table – economically, intellectually, ideologically and politically. It was a future where anybody from any part of the imperialist world would visit us and leave with all doubts erased about our competence and ability to take our mutual destiny into our hands and carve out our names across the skies with Iron Indelibility.
Our desire was to turn clockwise the wheels of industrialization, Education, infrastructure, health, Science, Commerce, commercial agriculture, effective and equitable tax regime and a complete control and harnessing of our natural resources in such a manner that makes it a natural consequence that we control the pricing of such "economy-movers". [Crowd cheers] We desired to build a future where standing armies were well trained and equipped to deal with any conflict and have a say in the world of defense. I once saw a future where we were also armed to the teeth with every conventional and hi-tech weapon that technological advancements could permit us to have so we could ward off any aggression from any part of the world.
Ambitious but achievable were our desires – and it was not because they were us-driven, NO! What we carried was immaculate conception and what drove it was the hand Of heaven itself! [thunderous applause with standing ovation] But well we were given bad names and hanged. From the days of Steve Biko to Brother Ghaddafi, Leaders who opposed imperialist agenda have been martyred in order to silent us. I mean Ghaddafi was the extreme, but hell, you do not kill a man like that in the name of revolution. That is gross. [Crowd goes into a frenzy. Mandela bows his head]
Look around you Madiba, look at all the faces that have gone down; some painfully, some peacefully. One thing I know you have learnt to do is to live with your enemies peaceably. Here you will have to live with some of your cruellest oppressors, like Tolbert and Doe are doing. And I am sure you realise Afrifa and Ankrah are sitting close to my left flank. We all share a common vision and goal: To pray that what we were not able to do, those who have followed us would sober down, keep calm and screw their heads on well and get to the business of the day and not be distracted by bantering media personalities.
We welcome you Nelson Mandela, enjoy your stay. In the course of the day a lot more of our comrades will come and see you. We assure you of our support during this adjustment period. Feel at home and feel safe. Please my office is opened unto you.
[Crowd cheers and mutter words of welcome to Mandela]