The Diplomacy of Korean Culture

25 November 2021

Ancient Korean culture, art and tradition may be the inspiration for its phenomenal development and success after a devastating war over ideology between 1950 and 1953. Efforts to resolve the separation to unite the North and South under one Korean nation are continuing. The Republic of Korea (ROK), South Korea as it is, with Seoul as its capital, is now ranked in the Top 10 most developed countries in the world.

The opening of the 33rd Korean Cultural Centre (KCC) right here in the city of Tshwane in South Africa is a clear indication of the strengthening of relations between the countries. “It is a place of happiness where different cultures can melt into each other,’” said Ambassador Chull-joo Park of Korea in his welcoming address at the opening of the KCC. This Centre is the largest and the most high end facility in Africa, he said. The other two are hosted in Egypt and Nigeria on the continent.

Mr Jung Bun Chun, Ambassador Chull-joo Park and Ambassador Dolana Msimang seated in the Cultural Experience Room

The timeous opening of the Centre will be a symbol of the milestone of 30 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and South Africa which began in 1992 and will be celebrated next year, 2022.

Invoking the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which connects all of humanity, Ambassador Dolana Msimang, Chief Director for East Asia at the Department of International Relations welcomed the opening of the KCC in her congratulatory remarks. She noted that cultural exchanges and interactions build respect and mutual trust. It also unites people through music, dance and food among others in the richness of its diversity.

Director of the KCC Mr Jung Bun Chun declared the Centre open inviting guests to a guided tour. The tour was carried out by three robots made in Korea to introduce guests to the facilities and serve food and drinks. The facilities include a Cultural Experience Room, Exhibition Hall, K-Pop and Taekwondo Studio, a Cooking Studio, Library, Lecture rooms, Auditorium, Cafeteria and Courtyard.

A tribute display to the South African Airforce that supported the Korean war effort

Located at 267 Waterkloof Road in Brooklyn, Pretoria it is ideally located and accessible to anyone who wants to experience a taste of Korean culture. The contact telephone number is 012 001 9204 or visit https://sa.korean-culture.org/

Photos and Text: K Bhana