H.E.Agnes Nyamande-Pitso Ambassador to Manila Philippines
DS: Last country where you were based before coming to South Africa
HE: Before coming to the Philippines I was based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
DS: Most interesting place in Philippines
HE: That is a challenging question to answer so allow me to say there I have three most interesting places, quite unique and different from each other, namely, Puerto Princesa Subterranean river (7th Wonder of Nature for 2013), Bohol (white fine sandy beaches, chocolate hills and a man-made forest) and Boracay (fine sand beaches).
DS: Your impression about Philippines in 3 words
HE: Exciting, fun, memorable.
DS: One place you would like to be posted to or visit
HE: I would like to visit Cancún in Mexico. As a steadfast tourist, the description of the place gives me the impression that it is enchanted and mystical in a way.
DS: Most memorable appointment thus far
HE: My most memorable appointment thus far is the Philippines. Filipinos are similar to South Africans because of a similar history of oppression which shaped them to be humorous in the face of adversity, forgiving easily; and friendly to tourists.
DS: Most challenging situation that you had to handle thus far
HE: Successfully juggling Ambassadorial, Counsellor and the Home Affairs duties concurrently - no sweat because that is what we females do the best.
DS: My inspiration is/comes from…
HE: three sources, i.e. my mother; supporting family and friends and inspirational phrases from a variety of authors.
DS: A Place in South Africa that you love to visit.
HE: I would like to visit God’s Window in Mpumalanga as this is a typical example of an unbelievable, beautiful and fascinating geological formation with a “spiritual energy” of some sort. Those who have been there claim to have been recharged. Believe it or not, I have visited Mpumalanga a lot of times but I have never been to God’s Window.
DS: Most interesting place to visit elsewhere.
HE: I would like to visit Accra in Ghana because I find their history quite fascinating.
DS:Favourite South African dish
HE: Sour Pap and Boerewors or African stew.
DS:Favourite dish of another country
HE: In my opinion, the tastiest dish of another country, i.e. the Philippines, is chicken adobo.
DS: The best book ever read is…
HE: “Winning: The Answers” by Jack and Suzy Welch.
DS: At the moment I am reading....
HE: lots of strategic leadership books and articles to wrap up my dissertation towards a Doctoral Degree in Business Administration (DBA). Watch this space as you will be invited to celebrate this achievement soon.
DS: I spend my leisure time...
HE: Reading research papers and books on strategic leadership since the latter is a trait essential for success in both private and public sector institutions.
DS: One sentence describing a lesson that you have learnt from being a diplomat
HE: Regardless of enormous job-related challenges, the diplomatic environment is unique in that it still offers us endless opportunities to approach work in an innovative and futuristic manner which we can maximize on by taking our work seriously first rather than taking ourselves seriously first because the latter has the potential to incapacitate our ability to excel in our tasks thus leaving us little room for improvement and subsequent growth..