notable quotes by Dr. Nujoma

Nujoma on Freedom and Independence:
  • To the Namibian people, I would like to state, on this solemn and historic occasion, that our nation blazed the trail to freedom. It has risen to its feet. As from today, we are the masters of this vast land of our ancestors. The destiny of this country is now fully in our own hands. We should, therefore, look forward to the future with confidence and hope.

Inaugural speech, 21 March 1990

  • Namibia today is no longer a toddler. It is a nation, self-assured, full of confidence, confident of its capacity and ability to mould its destiny. We ensured the entrenchment of democracy in all its facets in our country. We made significant strides in our efforts to bring about social justice.

State of the Nation address, 23 June 1992

  • We worked hard. We worked like honey bees, which continuously manufacture honey and wax from material that they gather from the fields. We worked strategically, purposefully and intelligently with one solid aim in mind, that of liberating our countries and our people from the yoke of colonial oppression. We surprised our colonial enemies…. The hoisting of our flags means that the management and the promotion of the economic welfare of our people, now lies in our own hands.

Conferment of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law, University of Zimbabwe
18 November 1999, Harare, Zimbabwe

  • You will recall that prior to our independence we were a divided society that was engulfed by prejudice and mistrust. Today, we all admit that we have transcended that division and are conscious of the fact that we need one another. This acceptance and tolerance of one another is a major achievement given our background of hostility and disunity.

Official Opening of the 1st Session of parliament, 25 February 1997

  • Today, Namibia is free and independent. This is in itself a fitting tribute to the fallen heroes and heroines. But the struggle was also a fight for the ideals of progress and social justice. This is to say that those who made the sacrifice were visionary men and women. They fought and died for a democratic and just society.

Heroes’ Day, 25 August 1996, Omugulugwombashe

  • Where there is a will, there is a way, and we have the will. We shall succeed. I am saying this with profound confidence and boldness because of what we achieved since the beautiful and promising dawn of our political independence, on 21 March 1990.

I am a very proud citizen of this country. I am proud because:

  • Together, we cultivated and nurtured the spirit of national reconciliation and national unity,
  • Together, we cherished a culture of peace and social stability,
  • Together, we fought for, attained and sustained democracy in our country,
  • Together, we demonstrated the power of mutual tolerance and respect: and
  • Together, we promoted respect and upheld the rule of law in our country

State of the Nation address, 30 April 1999

Nujoma on Politics, Democracy and Good Governance:
  • There cannot be democracy in an unstable political environment. Neither can there be development in an undemocratic environment where citizens are deprived of taking initiatives in the private sector in the interest of their country.”

17th Conference of the Heads of State & Government,
5 October 1992, Libreville, Gabon

  • ...we do not believe in the theory of a lost generation

State of the Nation address, 15 March 1994

  • Democracy would be meaningless if our people were to remain poor and not have enough food to eat. The right to vote would be a sham if the representatives whom the people vote into office do not deliver in respect of their promises of a better life, housing, provision of electricity, clean water, education and improved medical care.

Joint Session of the South African Parliament,
14 may 1996, Cape Town, South Africa

  • …let us dedicate ourselves to the proposition that power and authority spring from the people.

State banquet, 3 February 1992, Accra, Ghana

  • The foundation of all good solutions to problems is discussion and debate.

Opening of Parliament, 20 February 1996

Nujoma on Development:
  • The Sam Nujoma Foundation is anchored on the principle of peace, security, stability, democracy and development and will promote objectives that are in the interest of all.

Launching of the Sam Nujoma Foundation, 18 February 2005

  • I would like to point out that “black empowerment” should not be perceived as a threat by the white business community. It should rather be understood in the context of our reality- demanding that for equitable development to take place, all citizens should be given equal opportunity to make a living. In this sense, black empowerment and the economic prosperity of our country are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the established private sector should cooperate with the emerging black businesses to bring about economic growth, with the private sector as the centrifugal force.

Opening of the Yetu Trading Complex, 27 January 1996, Oshakati

  • We cannot afford to substitute hard and honest work with anything else because there is simply no substitute…..Equally, we must not amass wealth that we have not worked for, of which is not due to us.

New Year’s Speech, 31 December 1996

  • Progress generates demand for more progress, and that is what ultimately drives and accelerates progress.

First Cabinet Meeting, 27 January 1988

  • We have set ourselves ideals that we must forever uphold, namely purposefulness, perseverance and a strong desire to win. However, our people should not only hope for more jobs to be created for them. We need to be more proactive and participate as entrepreneurs, not only as workers, in our economy. Hard and honest work will not do us any harm; instead, we will be rewarded for our tenacity and diligence.

Commemoration of Cassinga Day, 4 May 1998

Nujoma on Land and Reconciliation:
  • For us, reconciliation is rooted in pragmatism and in hard facts. The Government’s reconciliation effort is based on bringing together estranged communities, whether political, military or social, into one non-antagonistic whole- all working for a common goal of making a better Namibia.

State of the Nation address, 10 June 1991

  • We must all endeavor to build a harmonious, multiracial society where all our children, black and white, can play and (go to) school together.

Official opening of the First Session of Parliament, 25 February 1997

  • We must go back to the land and work hard on it. It is the only efficient way that we can achieve food self-sufficiency. We must not simply sit down and wait for others to donate food to us. This would mean developing a dependency syndrome, which is totally unacceptable. We must grow our own food and feed our own people, we must take pride in ourselves as a nation.

The Day of the African Child, 15 June 1991

Nujoma on Education, Arts and Culture:
  • …Life may not be easy, but you cannot sit back and wait for opportunities to fall into your lap. Each one of you has different talents and capabilities. There is support for you from all of us to build on these strengths, but the will and determination must come from you.

Official opening of the Katutura Youth Enterprise Centre, 8 June 1995

  • Our country is abundantly endowed with countless natural resources. We need trained personnel to be able to harness these resources and make them useful to the benefit of our people.

Graduation Ceremony, University of Namibia, 22 April 1995

  • Traditional values and institutions are shunned as irrelevant to the concerns of the modern world. However, this need not be so. I believe that traditional values are fountains of wisdom, and provide an anchor to many who do not choose to be totally consumed by the material beliefs and superficial values that are hallmarks of modern culture. Moreover, I believe that modernity and tradition can coexist peacefully and complement each other positively, as long as we remain true to our traditions and make room for those aspects of modernity that can prove beneficial to our societies. There is no doubt, however, that the negative aspects of modernity should be shunned.

30th birthday of His Majesty King Mswati III & the 30th Independence Anniversary of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 5 September 1998, Mbabane, Swaziland

  • There are a few things in life that reflect the soul and heart of a country as accurately and candidly as its art. Art, by its very nature, is able to transcend both culture and national boundaries, carrying messages across while remaining true to its origin and source.

Standard Bank of Namibia Biennale 1995 Award Ceremony, 23 June 1995

  • A nation without culture lacks the dynamism that can enable it to face the future with confidence.

Tenth National Cultural Festival, 6 December 2004

Nujoma on the Environment:
  • The world has indeed become one single village. It is this village that we must all strive to protect.

Receiving the 1995 Africa Prize for Leadership for the sustainable end of hunger,
 24 October 1995, New York, USA

  • Nature conservation must start at our schools. Our children must be taught the beauty, vale and uniqueness of our environment and our wildlife. They must know that it is their environment and their heritage that they are asked to conserve. It is only when our future generations are informed why they should protect the environment that our struggle against poaching stands a chance to succeed.

Launching of the save the Rhino Trust Fund booklet, 20 November 1990

  • Indeed, it appears that every other industrial activity and process that has been initiated hitherto has one or more negative effects on the natural environment. In a twisted irony of our times, therefore, the very technologies that we are pursuing to improve our living conditions are turning out to be our worst enemy.

Official opening of the Fourth Annual World Congress of the 
Zero Emissions Research Initiative, 15 October 1998.

  • As nationals of a drought-prone country, Namibians should treat each day as if it were World Water Day.

World Water Day, 22 March 1996

Nujoma on Social Issues:
  • For anyone who holds his personal freedom dear, and cherishes the happiness of his loved one, prison is clearly not the place to be. Something must be amiss for anyone to turn himself or herself into a jailbird and keep going back to jail.

Divundu Rehabilitaion Centre and Prison, 20 September 1996, Divundu

  • Our aim is to empower those with disabilities, enabling them to lead lives of dignity and self-fulfilment and not merely to turn them into recipients of charity and pity, since we maintain and believe that disability is not inability.

Official opening of the Okuryangava Disability and Resource Centre, 18 April 1997

  • We must fight against illicit drugs for the sake of the future of our children, who are the leaders of tomorrow in our country.

Official launching of the Drug Master Plan, 8 August 1996

  • It disturbs me that there are people who continue to call for more old age homes. What happened to the houses or shelters of the old people? if they are too frail to look after themselves, what happened to the children they have nursed and cared for from birth?

Launching of the Oshipala Trust Fund, 12 August 2004

Nujoma on Africa:
  • The African strategy for economic recovery should not be short sighted, like the catastrophic economic structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and the IMF. Africans must adopt long term plans that will recover the dignity of our people.

1991 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, 1 May 1991, Harare, Zimbabwe

  • We as Africans must.... be willing and ready to give each other a helping hand in every way that we can. The wounds that Mother Africa has suffered and endured must be remedied by the sons and daughters of Africa themselves.

State Banquet in Honour of H.E. Laurent Kabila, President of the 
Democratic Republic of Congo, 24 June 1998

  • We believe that Africa’s brightest hope for economic renewal lies in regional integration.

State of the Nation address, 2 April 1997

  • The fact that Africa must learn to trade with itself is not an option. It is an economic imperative.

Official opening of the Oshikango EPZ Park, 2 October 1998, Oshikango

  • The spirit of ubuntu – “I am because you are” and “you are because we are” – needs to pervade our relationships at all levels in our society, that is at company level, Government level, and especially at regional level, so that we can act as a family of nations ...We need to fast-track industrial development by bringing both high-tech and appropriate technology to our shores. We do not have time to ride the learning curve which others have done before us.

First Southern African International Dialogue on Smart Partnership,
 5 May 1997, Kasane, Botswana

Nujoma on Peace and Security:
  • Peace is today perhaps the most expensive commodity in the world in general, and in the southern African-sub-continent in particular.... To us in Namibia peace is a commodity we have no price for. It is against this background that my Government puts a high premium on peaceful coexistence within as well as outside our borders.

Conferment of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law, 
19 June 1993, Willberforce, USA

  • Peace and independence are values that we must cultivate and continuously nourish. These values must take root and become the norm of life in our country.

     State dinner in Honour of H E Martti Ahtisaari,
 President of Finland, 2 May 1995

  • ...Those who harbour the illusion that Namibia can be re-colonised are making a mistake. The Government of the Republic of Namibia has the capacity to defend the territorial integrity, airspace and territorial waters from external aggressors.... Anyone who threatens such peace and stability will face wrath of the laws of the Republic of Namibia.

Address to the nation on the land question, 16 June 2004

Nujoma on International Issues:
  • What I am advocating.... is for debts of the developing countries to be written off in order to allow them to spend their resources on industrialization, human resource development and productive economic trade and economic prosperity. You will all agree with me that debt-ridden countries will remain basket cases and will not have the necessary resources to purchase finished products from the industrialized countries, but that debt free countries will make better economic partners.

Welcoming address, 1998 Southern African Economic Summit 
of the World Economic Forum, 17 May 1998

  • We are committed to the principles of non-alignment and we believe that the world would be a better place if we all subscribe to the values of democracy and reconciliation among and within nations. This, in fact, is a reflection of our internal policy of national reconciliation.

State of the Nation address, 10 June 1991

  • It has been said that if the United Nations did not exist, it would have to be invented. And we in Namibia are firm believers in that wisdom.

Interview, UN Chronicle, Issue 2, November 2000, New York USA

  • As a matter of fact, unilateralism, as demonstrated during the war in Iraq and through acts of violence in the Middle East, produced a general feeling of fear and uncertainty among all nations of the world. At the same time, it continues to claim hundreds of lives of innocent civilians, especially women and children. Therefore, in a resolve to make the world safer, we should commit ourselves to respect the rule of law and fundamental human rights and the rights of self-determination of all nations.

Commemoration of Cassinga Day, 4 May 2003

Nujoma on Gender, Women and Children:
  • I feel that women need to play a more significant role in the nation’s life by becoming better educated, better skilled and independent. As they say, when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.

Media Conference, 12 September 1996

  • To the women of Namibia, i would like to say the following: you have the potential to achieve your aspirations in all fields of endeavour in the business world. There is no aspect of business that should be considered off limits to you. You can become engineers, architects, mechanics and computer scientists, if you so choose. In fact, the sky is the limit, and it is in this spirit of confidence and competitiveness that our children must be raised.

Fund-raising dinner, Namibia National Association of Women in Business,
 28 September 1996

  • The youth are the strength of this nation. They are our future leaders. They bring unique perspectives that we need to take into account when we plan our future destiny. I, therefore, think that the youth should move to the centre of our planning activities in Namibia. We can no longer afford to keep them at the periphery.

Official opening of the Second National Youth Conference, 4 August 1999

  • As i have previously stated, we must all work together towards creating an atmosphere of peace, mutual trust and understanding, with a clear vision of reaching our ultimate goal – that of social justice for all our people, but especially for all our children.

World Summit for Children, UN headquarters, 
29-30 September 1990, New York, USA 

Nujoma on Human Rights:
  • Allow me to take this opportunity to draw the attention of those entrusted with the administration of justice to the fact that legitimacy cannot flow from selective legality. The ideological strength of legality stems from the appearance of even-handedness of the administration of justice and of equal application of the laws to all, including those in positions of influence and policy making.

Inauguration of the Supreme Court, 8 October 1990

  • I wish to mention here that the principles and ideals of human rights and their protection is not something that we should only think about on December 10. We must make the culture of human rights part of our daily lives. It must become a value system that we instil in our children while they are still young, so that they may live it out in their adult lives.

Commemoration of Human Rights Day, 10 December 1995

Nujoma on HIV/AIDS:
  • AIDS has knows no boundaries. It affects our labour force. It affects our professional force. AIDS knows no colour. It affects everybody – black, white, and brown. AIDS knows no political boundaries. It transcends political beliefs. It undermines and destroys. It undermines relationships. It undermines individual prosperity. It undermines family life. It undermines culture. It undermines life. It undermines the economy, worldwide.

Official Launching of the National AIDS Control Programme, 4 July 1990

  • As a way of combating the spread of AIDS we must, therefore, create an environment in which those infected can feel comfortable in making their HIV status public. We must remember that the people who are infected can be effective agents in bringing about behavioural change in our society

Opening of the AIDS Conference of Hope, 1 September 1999





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