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.

Local tourism promoted as sector reopens

1 September 2020

South Africans are encouraged to travel locally as the tourism sector attempts to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had envisaged that domestic tourism will be the first pillar upon which the tourism recovery will kick-start,” the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said.

Addressing the Tourism Month media launch in Cullinan on Monday, the Minister said government will, during Tourism Month, drive its domestic tourism campaign aimed at getting South Africans to travel and explore the splendour of the country responsibly, under the guidance of the health and safety protocols.

“South Africa has diverse tourist attraction offerings and I have no doubt that the varied needs of travellers will not only be met, but they will be exceeded,” the Minister said.

The domestic tourism campaign will stimulate demand, which will have to be met with sufficient supply.

Vietnam Celebrates 75th National Independence Day

Photo: The 36th ASEAN Summit opened at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Hanoi on June 26. The event is held in the form of a video conference, the first official summit hosted by Vietnam as ASEAN Chair in 2020. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc presides over the opening ceremony of the summit and is joined by leaders from other ASEAN member states.

by K Bhana

On 2 September 1945 a million Vietnamese gathered in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square as President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam a free and independent nation. To this day, 75 years later, it is commemorated and celebrated as Vietnam’s National Day.

Under the decisive, skilled and wise leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Japanese occupying forces were easily ousted. It was the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic weapons that brought a close to Japan’s imperialism in the Far East and South Asia and to the Second World War.

Vietnam was a colony of France from 1887 as French Indochina together with the Kingdom of Cambodia and Laos. The French sought to impose their brand of civilization on the Vietnamese, choosing to dismiss and ignore the culture and traditions of an ancient civilization that existed thousands of years before. The French colonisers were removed by Japanese Imperial forces in a coup de tat on 9 March 1945 towards the end of the war.

Maritime Economy a priority for Vietnam

by K Bhana

3 September 2020

Vietnam has 3,260 km of coastline and thousands of large and small islands, including two archipelagos of Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spatlys). It borders the People’s Republic of China in the north as well as Cambodia and Laos to the west. Its coastline on the east is lapped by the waves of the South China Sea which has always been an integral, natural feature of Vietnam’s livelihood, geography and history.  

Photo: Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held a video call with officers and soldiers in the Spratly Islands (Truong Sa) on January 30, 2020 to congratulate and encourge them on the occasion of Vietnam’s Lunar New Year Festival – an event of sacredness and family reunion according to its traditional culture.

Vietnams’ increasing role and position in international affairs is being acknowledged on the world stage. The accolades can be credited to the vision of the leadership of the governing Communist Party of Vietnam. Having endured the hardships of colonial and imperial occupation the Vietnamese have emerged stronger, wiser and ready to play its part.

The spirit and will of the nation is legendary and has been widely documented and recorded for historical significance. The hard fought victories they achieved against oppression and interference of their sovereignty is a strong indicator of courage and tenacity to overcome challenges they face.

Vietnam has made significant developments since the implementation of Doi Moi (Policy of Renovation) in 1986. It has diplomatic relations with more than 185 countries and has key comprehensive and strategic partnerships with several countries and participates on many international fora on multilateral and economic cooperation.

Malaysia-South Africa for peace, stability and prosperity

Remarks by H.E. Mohamad Nizan Mohamad,  High Commissioner of Malaysia to the Republic of South Africa, Republic of Botswana, Kingdom of Eswatini, Kingdom of Lesotho, Mozambique and Madagascar on the 63rd Anniversary of the National Day of Malaysia

31 August 2020

Your Excellencies, distinguished colleagues in the South African Government and esteemed member of the Diplomatic Corps in South Africa, Salam and greetings to all.

This year has been challenging for people around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a serious impact on health systems, economies and our lives. It has been five months since the first COVID-19 case was detected in South Africa, and wearing face mask, face shield and social distancing have been the new norms in our daily life. As much as we struggle and try to adapt to this ‘new normal’, the pandemic is likely to remain with us for years to come. Therefore, it is crucial that all of us to remain steadfast and positive while continuing to provide whatever supports to each other’s in this challenging time.

Although we could not get together in person this year, we still celebrated this special day together through our virtual National Day celebrations on our social media platforms.

Japan's Prime Minister Abe resigns

30 August 2020

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday, 28 August, said he will resign due to a flare-up of his chronic intestinal disease. This will end his nearly eight-year stint as Japan's longest-serving leader.

"As I am no longer in a condition to respond confidently to the mandate of the people, I have decided I should not stay in the prime minister's post," the 65-year-old said at a nationally televised press conference.

Mr Norio Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to South Africa responded to President Abe’s announcement saying, “Although it is due to his health, it is with a sentiment of regret that I learned of the announcement. During his tenure for seven years and eight months, Prime Minister Abe has made significant achievements.

“With his own strong commitment for establishing closer relations with Africa, Prime Minister Abe made significant efforts to strengthen these relations by promoting Public-Private Partnerships.

A Tanabata gift from Miyagi Prefecture

30 August 2020

The Tokyo Olympics, which was scheduled to be held from 24 July-9 August 2020, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The closing of borders, lockdowns, limited number of people gatherings, have caused the postponement and even cancellation of thousands of events around the world.

Photo: Mr Kawaguchi, Minister-Counsellor at the Embassy of Japan with Mrs Swanepoel, the Principal of Crawford school

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be rescheduled to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021. They also agreed on new dates for the Paralympic Games, which will be held from 24 August until 5 September 2021.

The Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Promotion of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, has established an “Arigato” Host Town in the three disaster-stricken prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima). The initiative encourages exchanges with "those who gave support at the time of disaster", with people who contributed in the reconstruction, including the rescue team members of different countries who entered the disaster-stricken area for support, and those who have sent relief supplies.

Ramlakan was a distinguished Freedom Fighter

28 August 2020

Retired South African National Defence Force Surgeon-General, Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan passed away on Thursday, 27 August 2020 at the age of 62.

Lieutenant-General Vejaynand Indurjith Ramlakan was a South African military commander. He was also a medical doctor who served in Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress, during the liberation struggle against the South African government in the 1980s, and transferred to the South African National Defence Force when MK was incorporated into it in 1994.

He first joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) as an underground operative in Natal in 1977. During this period, he underwent general military training in South Africa and in Swaziland. At the University of Natal, General Ramlakan served as the President of the Medical Students Representative Council from 1979 to 1980.

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