Remarks by the President at Regina Mundi Church

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
(Gaborone, Botswana)

For Immediate ReleaseMarch 29, 1998


Regina Mundi Church
Johannesburg, South Africa

10:37 A.M. (L)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Father, Bishop, Mrs. Matlata; to all of myfriends in the American delegation, our Ambassador, the South AfricanAmbassador; to the AME bishops getting a little instruction in RomanCatholicism today. Reverend Jackson, thank you for your prayer. Ladiesand gentlemen, thank you for making Hillary and me and our entire groupform America feel so very welcome.

And especially, I want to thank the children. Now, we're about toleave South Africa and we're going to the airport. And maybe we'll be likethe birds, we can fly. (Laughter and applause.) It takes a little more toget me in the air. (Laughter.) But we're going to practice that.

I am profoundly honored to be in this great house of God, which isalso a great shrine of freedom, for it was here that you and people beforeyou gathered to stand for the freedom of the people of South Africa when itwas denied you. I came e to South Africa, first, to thank God you had yourfreedom now. (Applause.) To thank God for the life and work of PresidentMandela, and so many others, known and unknown, who walked the long roadfor so many years so that the people of this great nation might be free.

But also I came here resolved to work with the people of South Africaas a friend and a partner, to help you make the most of your freedom. Itis one thing to be free, and another thing to do the right thing with yourfreedom. (Applause.)

Yesterday evening we dedicated a commerce center here to try to bringAmerican investment here, to create jobs for the people of South Africa andto have some trade between our two countries. The center was named afterour former Secretary of Commerce, the late Ron Brown. He wanted to helpSouth Africa make the most of its freedom.

And when I looked at the children singing today, and I saw thechildren throughout this beautiful church , I was reminded that I think thelasting image I will take away from all my stops in Africa are the faces ofthe children. -- the light in their eyes, the spring in their step, theintelligence of their questions to me, the beauty of their voices. Morethan anything else, it is important that we help them make the most of yourfreedom -- with better schools and better health care and more housing andsafer streets and a brighter future.

You know, a couple of years ago, the United States had the honor ofhosting the Olympics. And on the last day of the Olympics, the first blackSouth African ever to win a Gold Medal won a Gold Medal -- Josiah Tungwane.Now, it is so fitting that your first Gold Medal came n what event? Themarathon. Your fight for freedom was a marathon, not a sprint. People whotrain for the marathon say when you get almost to the end, about 80 percentof the way, the pain is so great many people quit, and you have to keepworking to go through the end. It takes a long time to run a marathon.

The fight to make the most of you're freedom, to do the right thingwith your freedom, to give your children the right future with yourfreedom. That, too, will be a marathon. But we want to run that race withyou. (Applause.)

And so, as I leave South Africa, I would leave you with one verse ofscripture that has throughout my working life been one of the very mostimportant to me. When you are discourages, when you are frustrated, whenyou are angry, when you wonder whether you can make the most of yourfreedom for these children, remember what St. Paul said to the Galatians:"Let us not grow weary in doing good. For in due season, we shall reap ifwe do not lose heart."

God bless you. Keep your heart. (Applause.)

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