Today, all of us do, by our presence here... confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. 


We, who were outlaws not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil. We thank all of our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity. 



Speaking about the multi-racial gathering on the inaugural day, Mandela says that they were all imparting glory and hope on newborn liberty. He adds that a society worthy of all humanity must emerge from the ashes of "an extraordinary human disaster" that lasted far too long.


Here, the phrase "human disaster" is a reference to the apartheid system that had existed in South Africa. During the apartheid,

Talking about his race, he says that they who were once treated as criminals, have begun to enjoy the uncommon distinction of hosting nations from all over the world on their own turf. He then appreciates and thanks the eminent international guests for coming to share in what is, after all, a common victory for justice, peace, and human dignity with the people of his country.


Meanings of difficult words:
Sl. No
ValleyA low area of land between hills or mountains, typically with a river or stream flowing through it
CrestThe top of a mountain or hill
RipeHaving arrived at the fitting stage or time for a particular action or purpose
DownpourA heavy fall of rain
ShowerA brief and usually light fall of rain, hail, sleet, or snow
IntimatelyIn a way that involves detailed knowledge

National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). First Flight. Nelson Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (pp. 16 - 23). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi..