Cuban tribute to Ambassador John Nkadimeng: His huge legacy on South Africa-Cuba relations will never been forgotten
By Rodolfo Benítez Verson, Ambassador of Cuba to South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho
30 August 2020
Cuba and South Africa formally established diplomatic relations on May 11, 1994, just one day after Nelson Mandela´s inauguration as President.
In fact, Cuba was the first country that a liberated South Africa recognized diplomatically and the first in which South Africa established a new embassy after the end of Apartheid.
Commander-In-Chief Fidel Castro, guest of honor at the inauguration ceremony, suggested Mandela to appoint as an Ambassador to Cuba someone he could fully trust. It was not an ordinary ambassadorship posting; many plans for the future had already been discreetly discussed by the two leaders.
In August 1995, Mandela selected John Nkadimeng for this important position. It was not a surprise for us in Cuba. Cde. Nkadimeng started working with Mandela at the age of 25 in 1950 and they became very close. Mandela knew that Cde. Nkadimeng was up to the task.
The Cuban government could not be happier with the choice. Cde. Nkadimeng was already known by us in Cuba. We knew he was a very well-prepared cadre that combined great experience of leadership from the ANC, the SACP and the trade unions.