Addis Abeba

Tale til åpningen av utstilling om kampen mot apartheid

Statsminister Erna Solberg talte under åpningen av en vandreutstilling om norsk og nordisk støtte til kampen mot Apartheid:

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

When I first visited Southern Africa, apartheid was still in place. And it deeply offended me, even though I was an outsider. The leaders and people of Southern Africa made a lasting impression on me in their struggle for independence and against apartheid Yet, memories fade with time. New generations are preoccupied with their own challenges. We easily take for granted the things that our parents and grandparents had to fight for.

The travelling exhibition that President Ramaphosa and I are opening is about the power of international solidarity. It is testament to younger generations of what people can achieve when they reach out across national and ethnic divides to take action – as brothers and sisters.

Few places symbolise the importance of international solidarity better than Addis Abeba. We are in the home of the Organisation for African Unity and its successor, the African Union. The struggles for liberation in Africa were first and foremost domestic struggles. But they were encouraged by a powerful spirit of international solidarity and kinship.

African neighbours were the first in line to help. The AU is a fruit of this solidarity. And Norway is very proud to be a close and long-standing partner of the AU.

This exhibition is based on a permanent exhibition at the Liliesleaf liberation museum in Johannesburg. The message of the exhibition however ranges beyond South Africa and the Front Line States. It highlights the value of international diplomacy, including Norway’s consistent support for multilateral cooperation through the United Nations and our long-standing tradition of international solidarity.

It sheds light on African solidarity and the support by Norway and other Nordic countries for decolonisation, liberation and the struggle to end apartheid.In Norway, apartheid reminded us about the oppression of the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Throughout Scandinavia, people increasingly became aware of the inhumanity of apartheid and the injustices of colonialism. This spurred concrete action by governments, political parties, trade unions, churches, and civil society in general.

Both men and women were inspired to contribute to the struggle, in partnership with African allies. At a time when multilateralism is under pressure and solidarity is in short supply, we need to return to our old ideals.

We need reminders of the great things that can be achieved when we engage in multilateral cooperation, respect human rights and promote international solidarity.The African Union embodies these ideals. It is therefore with great pleasure and pride we open this exhibition here. Thank you all for coming.