South Africa's Future Foreign Policy

South African President Nelson Mandela listens to farmers at the Summit on Rural Safety and Security at Escom Conference Center outside of Johannesburg, October 10, 1998. Reuters


As the 1980s drew to a close I could not see much of the world from my prison cell, but I knew it was changing. There was little doubt in my mind that this would have a profound impact on my country, on the southern African region and the continent of which I am proud to be a citizen. Although this process of global change is far from complete, it is clear that all nations will have boldly to recast their nets if they are to reap any benefit from international affairs in the post-Cold War era.

The African National Congress (ANC) believes that the charting of a new foreign policy for South Africa is a key element in the creation of a peaceful and prosperous country. Apartheid corroded the very essence of life in South Africa. This is why the country's emerging political leaders are challenged to build a nation in which all people-irrespective of race, color, creed, religion or sex-can assert fully their human worth; after apartheid, our people deserve nothing less than the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This vision cannot be realized until South Africa can again participate fully in world affairs. For four decades South Africa's international relations were dogged by the apartheid issue. By the end of the 1980s, South Africa was one of the most isolated states on earth. Recovering from this will be no easy task. Conscious of this difficulty, the ANC is involved in developing those policies which will be necessary to take South Africa into the new world order as a responsible global citizen. Additionally, it is concerned with the need to forge a truly professional diplomatic service which will serve all of South Africa's peoples and represent their rich diversity. Fortunately, foreign governments have recognized the importance of this and are generously providing training for young South Africans who wish to make careers in foreign affairs.

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