During the first official visit by a German Federal President to South Africa since the visit of then Federal President Johannes Rau in 2002, Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave a wide-ranging speech at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. He spoke about Germany and South Africa reckoning with a difficult past, he touched on plans to renew the cooperation between the two countries, and he reflected on deeply concerning global developments that threaten democracy: "Let us, South Africans and Germans, show that the world does not become more peaceful with 'everyone against everyone else', but only through increased cooperation".
Young people who work with us in our Civics Academy project were honoured to attend this historic speech with our team. Verne Harris, Director Archive and Dialogue at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, one of our longstanding partner organisations in South Africa, gave insightful opening remarks at the event. In his speech, Frank-Walter Steinmeier referred extensively to the Anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa, to questions of historic responsibility and reconciliation. He also emphasised the need to deepen democracy to defend it against its enemies. Find the full text of the speech here: