fwdk speech smallIt is a great honour for me to be able to address you today here in Bogotá.

We live in a troubled world – and many of those troubles have their roots in the inability of countries to find peaceful solutions to the conflicts that continue to divide their societies.

It is for this reason that I would like to congratulate you Colombians on the enormous progress that you have made in establishing peace after some many years of conflict.

Peace is within your grasp – and I would like to wish you every success in the final stages of the process.

We South Africans have been where you are now and can assure you that the prize of peace is worth all the sacrifices and compromises that negotiators inevitably have to make. My goal today is to share with you some aspects of our own peace-making process – the process that we launched 26 years ago and that led in 1994 to the establishment of our present non-racial Constitution.

Inevitably, many aspects of our experience relate only to the special circumstances that affected South Africa. However, other aspects may also be relevant to your situation in Colombia.

Although South Africa and Colombia are on different continents and have traditionally had little contact with one another, there are some remarkable similarities:

We also face similar challenges:

It is this latter question that I would like to address today.