210th Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico

by Ana Luisa Fajer, Ambassador of Mexico to South Africa

15 September 2020

It is with great pleasure that I address you today to celebrate the two hundred and tenth Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico.

Today, as on each fifteenth of September from the late nineteenth century, Mexicans around the world celebrate the beginning of our fight for freedom. With this ceremony, Mexicans renew their bond to freedom, to sovereignty, to Mexico.

In the early hours of the sixteenth of September 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo congregated the people of his parish in the town of Dolores and encouraged them to join him in the struggle for the freedom of Mexico. Hidalgo’s call became “el Grito de Independencia”, the Cry for Mexican Independence from Spain.

The revolution for independence was due to last eleven years. During this period the insurgents -as we refer to them, the heroes of this revolution- were so ahead of their time that Hidalgo abolished slavery as early as December 1810, and José María Morelos -a brilliant Afro- Mexican- signed the first Constitution in 1814: The Constitutional Decree for the Liberation of Mexican America.

Festive Launch of the Diplomatic World Magazine devoted to Uzbekistan held in Brussels

On 3 September 2020, a networking reception was held on the grounds of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels, in order to celebrate Uzbekistan’s 29th anniversary of independence and the launch of the Special Edition of Diplomatic World Magazine exclusively devoted to Uzbekistan. Approximately 70 high-level guests were in attendance, coming not only from Brussels but also neighbouring countries Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany and France. They included representatives of the diplomatic corps (ambassadors of other Central Asian countries, Russia, the Philippines and the Maldives), European External Action Service, the European Parliament, arts & culture, business, media and think tank representatives.

Pictured (l-r) are H.E. Dilyor Khakimov Ambassador of Uzbekistan, H.E. Tchary Atayev Ambassador of Turkmenistan and Barbara Dietrich CEO and President Diplomatic World

After months of restrictive measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic which had severely limited social contact, this festive occasion allowed guests to interact with one another in a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying Uzbek cuisine including its famous dish – plov – as well as a small exposition of traditional Uzbek dresses.

Reaffirming Women as the Custodians of our Heritage, Humanity and Future

By Jaimal Anand

14 September 2020

“Women in the ANC … have a duty to liberate us men from antique concepts and attitudes about the place and role of women in society, and in the development and direction of our revolutionary struggle.”
OR Tambo ANC Women’s Section in Luanda, Angola, 14 September 1981

This article will attempt to draw a link between Women’s Month and Heritage Month. The role of women in defining and protecting our heritage is not often linked but is, in my view, critical. The narratives that have been selected for this piece build on a position that women are a powerful force, and that this force has been supressed by centuries of patriarchal conditioning.

Photo: A fierce all female military squad in the kingdom of Dahomey (hadithi.africa)

All women have an innate strength and a special sort of courage that most men are unable to understand, however, during times of crises we have all seen this explosive force in action. The lens through which we, as men, perceive woman must change. One way of ensuring this is to drive to the fore narratives of women who literally shook the world, yet somehow their stories are overshadowed or stifled for reasons we may well understand, but not admit to. It is therefore important that mind-sets are changed at a societal level.
Dulcie September Square in Paris, France, was officially inaugurated on 31 March 1998. The name plate reads: "Dulcie September Square: Representative of the African National Congress: Assassinated in Paris on 29 March 1988".

Coronavirus Global Response: Access to COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator Facilitation Council holds inaugural meeting

10 September 2020

Today Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, and Dr Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, co-hosted the inaugural meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and H.E. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and included a keynote address from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The ACT-Accelerator is the proven, up-and-running, global collaboration accelerating the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

It was launched on 24 April 2020 by WHO with the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and supported by the UN Secretary-General and multiple Heads of Government, it is already delivering substantial returns; over 170 countries are engaged in the new COVID-19 Vaccine Facility and ten candidate vaccines are under evaluation, 9 of them in clinical trials, giving the largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio in the world.

Achmat Dangor led an extraordinary life

A tibute by the Nelson Mandela Foundation

7 September 2020

The passing of Achmat Dangor has left us feeling bereft. He was far more to us than just a former Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. He led the organisation through a challenging time of transition as Madiba stepped away from public life and in the process mentored many of us and, for some, became a friend. And even when he had moved on and his plate was full with new challenges, he never stopped supporting us. It felt that he was always there. We mourn his loss together with his family and friends. At this difficult time, our thoughts are with his partner Audrey Elster, his children Yasmin, Zane and Zachary, his grandchildren and his brothers and sister.

Achmat gave many years of outstanding service to structures of civil society in South Africa – including the Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Kagiso Trust and the Ford Foundation. He received many accolades for his tenure with UNAids in Geneva. His passion for justice and his managerial experience made him an adroit leader.

A Tribute to the late Adv George Bizos Sc

By Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa

10 September 2020

The death of Advocate George Bizos, SC yesterday 9 September 2020 marks the end of an era in the making of South Africa as a democratic constitutional state. He was 92 years old.

Simply and fairly told, George Bizos SC was the remnant of those who were in the frontline of the struggle for the elimination of apartheid, practically from the time that the apartheid state was established in 1948. George Bizos had reason to position himself not just as a fighter against apartheid but as a champion and campaigner for human rights in his adoptive country.

Bizos came to South Africa at an early age with his refugee father from the emergence of Nazi fascism in Europe and his native Greece. They were granted asylum in South Africa during the war years.

The People's Republic of China on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations

By the Embassy of China to South Africa

10 September 2020

I. The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN) and the 75th anniversary of the end of the World Anti-Fascist War and the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. Seventy-five years ago, with the determination to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind", we the peoples founded the UN as the most universal, representative and authoritative international organization and established an international order and system underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Thus began a new era in mankind's pursuit of peace and development.

Over the past 75 years, with peace as its mission, the UN has set up and operated a collective security mechanism, engaged in active mediation to settle disputes peacefully and deployed over 70 peacekeeping missions to conflict zones. In the past three quarters of a century, the UN has been instrumental in mitigating regional conflicts, preventing new world wars, and maintaining overall peace and stability in the world.

Mpondo Culture and Heritage Festival to be celebrated virtually

By HRH Stella Sigcau

10 September 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected economies and how business is conducted globally. It has necessitated for different and innovative ways and approach to doing business capitalising on technologies. Virtual meetings, virtual shows, e-commerce, e-diplomacy, e-marketing and so forth have become the norm. There has been less emphasis on people to people interaction. Working remotely online has become most common. One thing is for sure, it’s no longer business as usual. Hosting of festivals has not been immune. Covid-19 has necessitated for different ways of hosting festivals. The Mpondo Culture and Heritage Festival is one of the festivals that have been affected necessitating it to be hosted virtually in 2020 for the first time since its inception in 2006.

Cultural festivals play an essential role to economies including contributing to tourism. They attract local as well as international tourists who travel to experience diverse cultures boosting sectors such as hospitality. Covid-19 has affected travelling including international travel impacting on these festivals leading to cancellations or postponements.

10 years of the Brazil-South Africa Strategic Partnership - Reasons to celebrate and a glimpse of the future

by Mr Nedilson Jorge, Ambassador of Brazil to South Africa

7 September 2020

Today is a special day for Brazilians, as it marks the 198th anniversary of our Independence. It is a joyous occasion and an opportunity to celebrate the good relations between Brazil and South Africa. This is particularly relevant in 2020, as we commemorate ten years of the establishment of our Strategic Bilateral Partnership.  During the last decade, our countries have achieved unprecedented levels in their relations.

Brazil and South Africa are natural partners. The historic bonds of friendship and solidarity between our peoples are at the heart of the excellent relationship between our countries. These solid ties have impelled our past and present governments to pursue growing political, economic, and socio-cultural relations, which culminated in ten years of bilateral Strategic Partnership.

Under its framework, Brazil and South Africa have consolidated relations marked by intense political dialogue, relevant economic links, and significant cooperation in key areas of mutual interest. Most importantly, our relationship is actively contributing to the promotion of sustainable and lasting development in both countries.

Africa Webinar on the Importance of Leading Communication during Epidemics

2 September 2020

by Phumla Williams, Director-General of GCIS and Cabinet Spokesperson of the Republic of South Africa

The absence of a COVID-19 vaccine elevates prevention measures as a country’s first line of defence against the onslaught of the virus. To create awareness of these measures and effect behaviour change, reliable information needs to be shared with citizens so that they can make informed decisions on protecting themselves and their families.

Communication that provides accurate, useful, and up-to-date information has become an essential tool in a country's mitigating strategy. The pandemic has however changed the way that many governments engage with their citizens as face-to-face interactions are limited due to the nature of the virus.

At the recent Africa Webinar on ‘Leading through Communications during Epidemics in Africa and the Role of Media’, convened by South Africa’s central communication agency the Government Communication and Information Services (GCIS), communicators and media professionals from across the continent exchanged best communication practices.

Memorial Garden for National Arbor Month Launch 

1 September 2020
The Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Makhotso Sotyu, has launched the  National Arbour Month campaign by opening a memorial garden to remember all South Africans who have fallen to the Covid-19 and honour frontline professionals and workers who worked tirelessly to treat the pandemic in Thaba Nchu, Free State.
National Arbour Month is an annual campaign coordinated by the national Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries in partnership with Total South Africa. This year’s theme is “Forests and Biodiversity,” signifying the importance of protecting and conserving the country’s biodiversity as the backbone of our economy and livelihoods.
“September is also heritage month and as we celebrate Arbor Month, the department also focuses on the country’s champion trees which include some of the oldest, largest and culturally significant trees.  National Arbor Month is an opportune time to call on all South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management,” said Deputy Minister Sotyu.

Happy 75th Independence Day Viet Nam

2 September 2020

Address by H.E. Mr. Hoang Van Loi, Ambassador-Designate of Viet Nam to South Africa on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day of Viet Nam

Excellencies, colleagues and friends,

On the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (September 2, 1945 – September 2, 2020), I would like to convey my warmest greetings and best wishes of sound health, peace and prosperity.

Photo: Ambassador-Designate H.E. MR. HOANG VAN LOI and his spouse LUONG THI THU HA

On this day, 75 years ago, President Ho Chi Minh delivered the Declaration of Independence, giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, now the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. The Declaration called upon all the Vietnamese peoples to stand united in the fight for freedom, unity and development of the motherland. Since that day, Viet Nam has embarked on a long journey, from a country ravaged by war, economic embargo and political isolation to the one that is now thriving, dynamic and interconnected with the global community.

Today, Viet Nam is in pursuit of the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, openness, diversification and multilateralization of external relations and active international integration. To continue to raise the banner of peace, cooperation and development, Viet Nam is a friend, a reliable partner of all countries and an active and constructive member in the international community, striving for peace, cooperation and sustainable development, actively participating in regional and international cooperation. The year 2020 is very important for Viet Nam’s foreign affairs, especially in implementation of multilateral diplomacy. Viet Nam takes on Chair of ASEAN and non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 term, holding the two responsibilities together for the first time. With the theme “Cohesive and Responsive” for the ASEAN Chairmanship 2020, and “Viet Nam: Trusted Partnership for Peace and Sustainability” as non-permanent member of UNSC, Viet Nam is working with international friends and partners to foster multilateralism, the rule of law; enhance ASEAN’s centrality role in the regional structure; and further promote cooperation between ASEAN and the UN.

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