Government of National Unity 1994Twenty years ago we South Africans did something truly exceptional.

We succeeded – after centuries of division – to plant in the hard soil of Africa a tender young sapling. It was our new Constitution which took root exactly twenty years ago on 27 April 1994.

It was a deed of great beauty that won the admiration of the whole world.

That sapling has since then grown into the tall young tree of our constitutional democracy. It is the tree of freedom.

We all depend for our future on the fruits of justice that it provides us.

Its spreading branches and thick green foliage protect our fundamental rights from all those who might seek to limit them.

From its topmost branches we can see the vision that it promises:  it is a vision of

All the progress that we have made during the past 20 years has come from this tree of freedom:

None of these successes would have been possible without our constitutional democracy.

Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the all too visible threats to the tree of freedom:

On this 20th anniversary of our new society we should all pause for a moment to consider what we have achieved – and where we would be without the protection of our Constitution.

We should use this anniversary to rededicate ourselves to the brave venture that we started 20 years ago:

We have made enormous progress during the past 20 years.

The progress that we continue to make during the next 20 years will depend directly on our ability to continue to nurture the young sapling of constitutional democracy that we planted on 27 April 1994.

The future of everyone in South Africa depends on our ability to be able to do so.