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Cubans celebrate Africa Day

31 May 2017

Ambassador Carlos Fernández de Cossío of Cuba hosted a cocktail lunch for Cuban professionals working in South Africa to celebrate Africa Day. The venue for the lunch was Freedom Park in Tshwane where an impressive wall that registers the names of over 80 thousand African victims of colonialism, oppression and racism, as well as the heroes and martyrs that lost their lives in the struggle for freedom, includes the names of over 2200 Cuban internationalist combatants that gave their lives on African soil in solidarity with the struggle of the people of this continent.

In his address to Ambassador de Cossio said, “Today, the Embassy of Cuba and Cuban professionals working in South Africa join our brothers and sisters from this great nation to celebrate Africa Day, marked two days ago, on the 25th May.

For Cubans, the celebration of Africa Day is not just an expression of respect and solidarity, it is an anniversary that we take as our own.  

Our relation to this continent and its people is of a genetic nature.  African blood, culture, spirituality and sentiments helped to shape the Cuban nationality.  One cannot speak of Cuba or of Cubans, without considering the significant influence of our African ancestry.

The concept of a united, strong and prosperous Africa is a goal that Cuba shares.  We are proud of our humble contribution in the struggles for the liberation of Africa, and of our ongoing involvement in helping the social development of the continent.

The Cuban Revolution feels fortunate for its ties to the African nations. These ties began in the 1960s, in the early and difficult stages of the Revolution, when Cuba suffered regional diplomatic isolation in Latin America and had the fortune to count with the friendship and solidarity of the newly decolonized sovereign nations of Africa.

We have chosen to celebrate this anniversary here at Freedom Park.  Few places in South Africa or the world, if any, could better symbolize the relations of our country with this continent and the fraternal sentiments of our respective peoples.  

The impressive wall that registers the names of over 80 thousand African victims of colonialism, oppression and racism, as well as the heroes and martyrs that lost their lives in the struggle for freedom, includes the names of over 2200 Cuban internationalist combatants that gave their lives on African soil in solidarity with the struggle of the people of this continent.

To all of them, Africans and Cubans, we pay our tribute.  To them we dedicate this Africa Day.

We do so in the company of the officials from the National Departments of the government of South Africa directly involved in bilateral cooperation between our two countries, in the company of the leadership of the Friends of Cuba Society and friends in general, and in the company of a representation of South African professionals that were trained in Cuba during different stages of our long relationship.

We also do it in the company of a representation of the 662 Cuban professionals that work and deliver services in over 180 sites or locations across the landscape of South Africa´s nine provinces, on the basis of bilateral agreements in the areas of health, human settlements, public works, water and sanitation, defense, and also in art.

These professionals, that engage with South Africans on a daily basis, far away from their homes and families, are a faithful expression of Cuba´s commitment to Africa.

We hope that we can take advantage of this celebration to network and engage as a common people in a common cause.

Two days ago, on the exact date of Africa Day, we marked six months of the death of Fidel Castro, the historic Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution.  

His leadership and his vision were fundamental in motivating Cuba´s commitment to Africa and in the understanding by our people that Africa was also our home, and that the sacrifices that we were ready to commit for our homeland, we should be ready to commit for the people of Africa.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Oliver Tambo, who together with Fidel Castro forged the special relationship that we enjoy today.

In celebrating Africa Day, we also pay tribute to these two great leaders.”

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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November/December 2018

 
 
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