South Africa's Freedom Day made the country stronger

by Tariq Ali Faraj Al-Ansari, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Republic of South Africa

27 April 2021

The commemoration of South African Freedom Day on April 27th represents a brink to new life of dignity for the whole world. The restoration of South Africans right to self-determination in 1994 ended an era of Africa's most difficult and longest path to free people from colonialism, segregation and injustice. In that year the first non-racial democratic elections bestowed leadership on Nelson Mandela, the well-deserved honourable man and role-model of forgiveness, reconciliation and patriotism.

After over three hundred years of hardship, the year 1994 constituted a celebration for the whole free world and all peace loving countries who didn't give up on the strong rival and resistance of the South African nation.

After lessons learned from the past, South Africa emerged stronger and more resilient in the face of the 21" century new and emerging challenges. Those who just hear about apartheid are way different from those who experienced it, lived it and understood what it meant for your freedom to be caged. Therefore South Africa rose up to take its natural, important and influential role on the regional, continental and global arena, proving itself as a significant player on the international stage.

In the footsteps of the great Nelson Mandela, the South African nation with its wise leadership represented by HE the Honorable President Cyril Ramaphosa, continues the march for liberation and progress in parallel with a vision for the future, not only for South Africa, but for the African continent and its institutional arrangements. South Africa, during its tenure as elected member of the United Nations Security Council, for the period 2019-2020 played a constructive role in promoting and developing mechanisms of preventive diplomacy and post conflict peace-building in particular for and in Africa, serving the regional and international peace and security.

I admire how South Africa, during its membership in the UNSC, had championed several key matters, such as: the promotion of women's rights, peace and security, combating terrorism, supporting the stability of the region of the Middle East as well as seeking solutions to end all conflicts in the African continent through creating conducive circumstances to facilitate peaceful solutions to these conflicts.

Furthermore, the laudable efforts of Pretoria's diplomacy had solidified links between the UNSC and the African Union along with its Peace and Security Council, during South Africa's tenure as chair of the African Union (AU) in 2020, where relentless efforts have been made to increase visibility and credibility of Africa's prominent needs, like the "Silencing the Guns" initiative as an example and focusing on forging COVID-19 vaccines for Africa. South Africa's leadership and diplomacy spoke out loud about these concerns at the UN system, and it acted through initiatives and deliberations in the multilateral arena, and became a bridge between Africa and the world.

However, the most notable achievement during South Africa's tenure, was the launching of the long-awaited and much needed "African Continental Free Trade Area" (AFCFTA), which crowned the tenure of South Africa’s chairship.

Thanks to the country’s credibility and respect it gained after decades of engagement with east and west blocks, it is positioned to be the beacon of Africa’s development and aspirations of all Africans. With its GDP of 352 billion USD it could stand resilient facing the harsh global political conditions and those resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The country launched emergency plans and adopted measures to combat the Pandemic implications on social and economic development, in a manner that was professionally articulated compared to many other advanced countries, who also noticed that South Africa didn’t panic, in the time it was also bearing international responsibilities as AU Chair and UNSC member.

I wish South Africa everlasting prosperity for its people, freedom to prevail on its soil and continuous success to its leadership.

Happy April 27th!