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Once upon a time in Poland

14 November 2019

Mr Andrzej Kanthak, Ambassador of Poland in South Africa, started the celebrations with, “Once upon a time…” and explained how the celebration of Poland's regained independence came about.

Photo: Ambassador Kanthak pictured with musicians Joanna Maklakiewicz and Marek Bugajski (photo by Grazyna Koornhof)

For many years Polish people lived in a country that didn’t exist but Poland remained in their hearts. After its erasure, Poland returned to the map of the world on November 11, 1918 after enduring 123 years of occupation and November 11 became a state holiday in 1937. This holiday was lost after the Second World War and again officially restored in 1989 after the collapse of communism.


When everything seemed possible

9 November 2019

On the 9th of November 1989 the world was irreversibly changed when the Berlin Wall came down and everything seemed possible. It was a day marked by jubilation, not only in Germany but the world over. At the same time in South Africa apartheid was collapsing and three months later, in February 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison. “These events marked the moment in history when both our countries turned from oppression to freedom, from injustice to democracy, from despair to hope,” said Dr Martin Schäfer, Ambassador of Germany to South Africa.

Photo: Dr Martin Schäfer, Ambassador of Germany with Ms Sabine Dall'Omo, President of the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Ms Barbara Creecy, SA Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

The German Embassy and its partners organised a Deutschland Fest in Pretoria’s CBD to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Revellers were treated to music, theatre, art, debates, food and drink. The family day catered to everybody’s needs; there was even a fun corner for the kiddies and a corner to watch live Bundesliga soccer matches.


Escalating relations US SA

13 November 2019

One of the goals of newly-arrived Ambassador-designate of the USA, Mrs Lana Marks, is to ensure that women realize their full professional and economic potential.  Marks was speaking at a press briefing after landing on South African soil just 3 days before.

“The United States is piloting the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs here in South Africa and, through our TechWomen program we are bringing together emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics mentorships and exchange  programs. I will continue to advocate for women’s empowerment through these and other initiatives,” said Marks.

Marks was born in East London, South Africa and left for the USA in the 1970s. In 1987 she started her business from her kitchen table and has developed LANA MARKS fashion brand into an international brand with boutiques all across the world.


Gotabaya Rajapaksa Newly elected president of  Sri Lanka

By Srimal  Fernando

17 November 2019

Former Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was declared victorious in Sri Lanka after a closely fought election, as his main opponent Sajith Premadasa of the ruling United National Party (UNP) conceded defeat.

Rajapaksa’s victory, gaining 6,924,255 votes with 52.25% of total votes cast appears to bring new hope to the South Asian nation.

His father, DA Rajapaksa was a prominent politician in the 1960s in the Wijeyananda Dahanayake government and also a founding member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. In 2005, he was appointed to the post of defence secretary by his brother Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa


Vienna Ball in Cape Town

11 November 2019

On November 1st the first VIENNA BALL in Cape Town was organized at the Belmont Mount Nelson Hotel in style.

The VIENNA BALL in Cape Town was a special greeting from Vienna, the city on the Danube and that was recently voted, yet again, the most livable city in the world, to the mother city Cape Town, the city of culture and joy of life.

Photo: Ambassador Johann Brieger and Roswitha Brieger on the dance floor (Embassy of Austria)

The ball was a collaboration between the ‘City of Vienna’, ‘Austrian Airlines’,  the world-famous ‘Spanish Riding School in Vienna’ and 'echo media Vienna'. Trainers from the Spanish Riding School performed with Lipizzan horses at the hotel lawns.


Grootegeluk Exxaro – Self Empowerment

5 November 2019

“We at Exxaro, know better than most the vital role that partnerships with government and other key stakeholders can play in achieving transformation in South Africa’s socio-economic landscape. Our R20 billion investment, between 2018 and 2023 is testament to our purpose, as it is about co-creating solutions with government to complex social and economic challenges facing our country,” said Exxaro CEO, Mxolisi Mgojo.

Mr Mgojo was speaking to a group of around 50 journalists who were invited for a media tour of the Exxaro state of the art head office, the conneXXion in Centurion across the road from the Gautrain train station. The tour concluded with a visit to a coal mining site at Belfast, Mpumalanga Province to experience first-hand and in real time operation of a digital and connected modern mine.


Economic Diplomacy Specialist

24 October 2019

As South Africa finds itself in the final throes of a turbulent transformation, its true potential begins to emerge. Advocate Mr. Ajay Sooklal a freelance advisor and former Chief Director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for South Africa presented an analysis on South Africa’s current situations and prospects in the political economy.

Photo:  (l-r) Mr Kirtan Bhana, founding editor of The Diplomatic Society, Advocate Ajay Sooklal, Mr Park Jong Dae, Ambassador of Korea and Mr Pyong Il Son, Regional Director General for KOTRA Africa

Sooklal was speaking at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea’s business forum for Korean business in South Africa hosted regularly to discuss various issues of doing business in South Africa, the region and the continent.

 As Africa finds peace with itself and stability returns, it is becoming the new frontier for foreign investment. The World Bank has ranked many African countries favourably on its Ease of Doing Business Index, including South Africa.


Recycled Instruments make magic

4 November 2019

‘The world sends us garbage. We send back music’

The Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura, started by Favio Chavez, recently performed in South Africa. Cateura is a suburb in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay which is built on a landfill site. Chavez came to the town as an engineer and in his spare time started teaching music. Soon realising that musical instruments were unaffordable, he came up with the idea to fashion these needed instruments out of the garbage from the landfills.

Photo: Members of the Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura, with their Director Favio Chavez, Mr Roberto Recalde, Charge d'Affairs of the embassy of Paraguay and members of the Paraguayan community

Mr Roberto Recalde, Charge d'Affairs of the embassy of Paraguay in South Africa said that this is the Orchestra’s first performance on African soil.


Austria – SA trade to exceed EUR 1billion

28 October 2019

Dr. Johann Brieger, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to South Africa and Mrs. Roswitha Brieger hosted a reception to celebrate the Austrian National Day in Pretoria, South Africa. They are pictured cutting the celebratory cake.

Austria has many achievements to celebrate including Vienna being ranked the most liveable city in the world for the 10th year in a row and Salzburg, Austria, being named Lonely Planet's top city to visit in 2020.

Tourism between Austria and South Africa is growing and flights to Austria from Cape Town were recently resumed.

Dr Brieger said that trade between the two countries will exceed EUR 1 billion this year.

South Africa is Austria’s most important trading partner in Africa. The ongoing increase in trade and the development of commercial ties between Austria and South Africa in key areas - such as the automotive sector, the development of infrastructure, renewable energy and tourism - are steadily on the increase.


Russia-Africa Summit a success

27 October 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has wrapped up his working visit to the Russian Federation, where he attended the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit.

Photo: SA President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering an address during plenary of the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi in the Russian Federation (Kopano Tlape GCIS)

At the end of the two-day high-level engagement, the President described the gathering as a meaningful interaction, which “exceeded” his expectation.

“This has been a successful summit. It started off with the business sectors from various countries in Africa interacting with the Russian business sector in an exchange that was most productive.

“The businesses that came from South Africa spanned a number of sectors of the economy, and their engagement with Russian businesses in mining and Information Communication Technology (ICT) and oil extraction, amongst others, were quite meaningful,” President Ramaphosa said.

The summit, which was attended by more than 40 African leaders from 23 – 24 October 2019 in Sochi, aimed to intensify and enhance Russia’s cooperation with African countries at bilateral and multilateral levels.


10 years of EAP

17 October 2019

One of the very first tasks for European Union Ambassador Dr Riina Kionka to South Africa was participating in a panel discussion on the 10th Anniversary of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EAP) and the European Neighbourhood policy: Lessons from Eastern Europe and Africa.  As there is no unanimous decision on the expansion of the EU, the EAP policy outlines its relationship with the post-Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

On the panel (pictured l-r) were Mr Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia, Mr Yamin Jafarli ,  Charge d’Affaires of Azerbaijan, Mrs Riina Kionka, Ambassador of the European Union, Ms. Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Chief Executive, SAIIA Mr Kari Alanko, Ambassador of Finland, Ms Liubov Abravitova, Charge d'Affaires of Ukraine and Mr. Alexander D. Sidoruk, Ambassador of Belarus

The discussion organized by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Pretoria included presentations by the Embassies of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine who have representation in South Africa.


Spain is betting on South Africa

15 October 2019

Mr. Carlos Fernández-Arias, Ambassador of Spain to South Africa hosted a celebration on the occasion of the National Day of the Kingdom of Spain in Pretoria. In his remarks Ambassador Fernández-Arias said that the relations between Spain and South Africa are strong and growing.

Photo: Mr. Carlos Fernández-Arias, Ambassador of Spain with Mr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Home Affairs of SA

Bilateral relations between the two countries are serviced through the South Africa-Spain Annual Consultations held at Deputy Ministerial level and anchored through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2000.

On the trade front, Spain is one of South Africa’s major trading partners in the European Union. In 2016, the overall volume of trade amounted to R32.3 billion, with imports amounting to R19.5 billion and exports amounting to R12.8 billion.

There are 100 Spanish companies that have invested in South Africa and they are estimated to have created over 12 000 jobs largely in renewable energy and metals sectors.


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February/March 2020














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