I would like to address some of the lessons that we have learned in South Africa -- lessons that might be helpful to all the countries around the world that are in the process of transition, that strive to clamp down on violence, that hope to fight poverty and improve the quality of life of all their people, that aim to move towards democracy and to bring freedom to their people.
I don't have time to elaborate on all the lessons we have learned, but I want to mention five.
First, if you want to break out of the cycle of violence, if you want to lay the foundations for a more prosperous society, if you want to democratize, then the departure point is that leaders must become convinced that fundamental change is necessary.
This happened in South Africa. I and my fellow leaders in the National Party became convinced that we had to change. We could not improve apartheid. We could not make it more acceptable. We had to abandon the concept of separateness and we had to embrace a new vision of togetherness, of one united South Africa, with equal rights for all and an end to discrimination. But we also had to make sure that South Africa would not become caught up in the chaos that resulted from over-hasty decolonization in many other parts in Africa and which led to dictatorships and despots.
So we were convinced that we had to change fundamentally, to make a 180-degree turn. Likewise, President Mandela and the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) had to accept that they could not win a revolutionary war, that they had to abandon the idea of gaining power through force, and that they had to embrace seeking power through a democratic model. We both had to compromise. Both sides did, and these compromises resulted in the negotiations which followed. So the departure point is to convince leaders that fundamental change is necessary.
Secondly, any new dispensation will best succeed if it is based on agreements forged in inclusive negotiations. Why do I put the emphasis on "inclusive" negotiations? In most conflicts there are many parties involved in the conflict, with different agendas, with different concerns, with different fears and different aspirations.
And only if you reach an agreement based on a broad consensus -- one that is inclusive of an overwhelming majority of the population, who then say, "we take ownership of this new constitution, of the principles of this agreement reached in negotiations" -- can you be sure that it will last.