KWAME HOLMAN: The president and Mrs. Clinton arrived in the city of Capetown in South Africa this morning. It's the fourth stop on the their six-nation African tour. Mr. Clinton's trip to South Africa, the first state visit, by an American president, is meant to celebrate the country's transition from apartheid to black majority rule. The key figure in that transition -- President Nelson Mandela -- greeted Mr. Clinton at a red-carpet ceremony.
The celebration continued as South Africans lined the streets of the poor suburb of Cape Flats to welcome the Clintons to a housing project. It is being built with some American money as a part of a program to help local women escape squatter camps and construct their own homes. The Clintons got directly involved in the construction.
Later in the day, Mr. Clinton returned to Capetown to address the South African parliament. As the two men came down to the assembly floor, Mr. Clinton clutchedPresident Mandela's hand, apparently to help steady the 79-year-old leader. After a rousing welcome, the President addressed the South African parliament.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: You have every reason to be hopeful. South Africa was reborn, after all, just four years ago. In the short time since, you've worked hard to deepen your democracy, to spread prosperity, to educate all your people and strengthen the hand of justice. The promise before you is immense, of people unshackled, free to give full expression to their energy, intellects, and creativity, a nation embraced by the world whose success is important to all our futures.
America has a profound and pragmatic stake in your success, an economic stake because we, like you, need strong partners to build prosperity. And we have a moral stake because in overcoming your past, you offer a powerful example to people who were torn by their own divisions in all parts of this earth. Simply put, America wants a strong South Africa. America needs a strong South Africa. And we are determined to work with you as you build a strong South Africa. (Applause)
KWAME HOLMAN: Tomorrow, President Mandela will take the Clintons to Robben Island Prison outside Capetown, where Mandela was held for 18 years for opposing the apartheid regime.