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Italy National Day

4 June 2019

Ambassador of Italy in South Africa, Paolo Cuculi hosted a celebration to mark the 73rd National day of Italy, his first official event in this country.

Photo: Ambassador Paolo Cuculi with Oriana Cuculi

This day celebrates the historic vote of the Italian People that in 1946, after two decades of dictatorship, freely chose to reshape a future for Italy based upon democracy, solidarity and human rights. A path South Africa too undertook 25 years ago by a universal, free vote.

Italy and South Africa share a longstanding friendship and cooperation that encompass key areas such as trade (in 2018 bilateral imports and exports peaked to almost 3.5 billion Euros, with a remarkable complementarity between Italian and South African commodities and equipment) and scientific cooperation (in the field of astrophysics and radio astronomy, the strategic partnership for the Square Kilometre Array platform).


Remarks by Ambassador Paolo Cuculi

My wife Oriana and I warmly welcome you all to the Italian National Day that I have the privilege to host as first official event of my so far short stay in South Africa.

Actually, one good thing about being new in a country is that, in general, you haven’t had enough time to make mistakes, yet, and – most of all – you lack sufficient elements for long statements likely to bore the audience.

Therefore, I will only recall that today we celebrate the historic vote of the Italian People that in 1946, after two decades of dictatorship, freely chose to reshape a future for our Country based upon democracy, solidarity and human rights. A path South Africa too undertook 25 years ago by a universal, free vote.

In this connection, let me wholeheartedly congratulate the new South African Government nominated after the elections held last month, and wish it success in carrying out its mandate.

The values I mentioned constitute a sound, common platform that both Italy and South Africa consistently promote in the major multilateral fora, from the United Nations to the G20.
    
They remain pillars of the longstanding friendship and cooperation between our two Countries, that encompass key areas such as trade (in 2018 our bilateral imports and exports peaked to almost 3.5 billion Euros, with a remarkable complementarity between Italian and South African commodities and equipment) and scientific cooperation (let me just mention, in the field of astrophysics and radio astronomy, our strategic partnership for the Square Kilometre Array platform).

Speaking about business, I seize the opportunity to sincerely thank the Italian Companies that are here with us today: tasting Campari drinks, Ferrero chocolate or Illy coffee, while at the same time admiring the luxury Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo cars, Piaggio-Vespa and Ducati motorbikes, or SMEG stylish appliance designed by Dolce e Gabbana, you may have a glance of the “Italian way of life” we cherish, and that I hope you too appreciate.

Italy and South Africa actively cooperate in this field of sports as well, a passion our two people deeply share. Notably, more than one hundred South African athletes are going to compete in the 30th Summer World University Games, to be held in Naples next July. In the same vein, we would love to welcome a South African delegation in Milan and Cortina, as these Italian cities are bidding to host the Winter Olympics in 2026; we hope we can rely on South Africa’s support to this end.

Finally and most importantly, I wish to underline that if our bilateral relations are so strong and deeply-rooted, a special tribute must be paid to the essential role the Italian Community in South Africa has played over the decades, contributing with its steadfast work, brilliant ingenuity and unwavering commitment to the prosperity of this Country, as well as to Italy’s reputation and prestige.

Before leaving the floor to , with your permission I will therefore gladly comply with our tradition to briefly address the Italians present today in our Mother Tongue.

Care e cari connazionali,

ci conosciamo solo da qualche settimana, ma in questo breve lasso di tempo mi avete mostrato quanto la vostra Comunita’, che e’ gia’ divenuta anche nostra, sia ricca di storia, di un elevato senso di umanita’ e solidarieta’, di eccellenze professionali, cosi’ come di fedelta’ verso le tradizioni e i valori della nostra Patria lontana.

In pochi giorni ho provato la vivissima emozione di visitare il cimitero di Zonderwater, rendendo omaggio alla memoria dei nostri caduti e degli oltre 100.000 soldati italiani che, anche nel dramma di una guerra persa e della prigionia in terra straniera, hanno saputo tenere alta la dignita’ del nostro Paese, meritando il rispetto della popolazione sudafricana e costruendo un futuro migliore per le loro famiglie.

Ho avuto il piacere di conoscere le vostre Associazioni in una splendida serata durante la quale ho potuto toccare con mano la profondita’ e la forza dei legami che da decenni vi uniscono all’Italia; ho incontrato numerosi imprenditori, ricercatori e professionisti, giunti in Sud Africa da molti anni o piu’ di recente, che con il loro lavoro quotidiano concorrono al progresso socio-economico di questo Paese, e a consolidare i vincoli e le relazioni con l’Italia.

Considero un onore potervi rappresentare, e non lesinero’ impegno per  esserne all’altezza.

Questa festa, oggi, e’ soprattutto la vostra.

Viva la Repubblica, Viva l’Italia

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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June/July 2019

 
 
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