President Mary Robinson on a state visit to South Africa is welcomed by President Nelson Mandela.

President Mary Robinson received an official welcome to South Africa at a state banquet held in her honour in Cape Town. President Nelson Mandela strongly encouraged all of the parties in Northern Ireland to approach the negotiating table and,  

That all would eschew violence and that none will act in a manner that places obstacles in the way of others participating. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu greeted President Mary Robinson this morning at the offices of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This organisation which he is chairs was set up last year by South Africa's Government of National Unity to help deal with the violence and human rights abuses which happened under apartheid.

This afternoon President Mary Robinson visited Robben Island where Nelson Mandela and other political activists were incarcerated during the apartheid regime. Standing in cell 5 where Nelson Mandela spent eighteen of his twenty-seven years in prison, she spoke to RTÉ News.  

Somebody of great intellectual contribution who had been very active as a lawyer and to be confined with colleagues of the same kind in very small area isolated. 

Gugulethu township in the Western Cape was the next stop where President Robinson visited a community centre and met local people.  

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 27 March 1996. The reporter is Charlie Bird.