Norway Report May 2012
by Astrid Mannion, Journalist & Translator, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Norway
On 8-11 November 2011, Ambassador Beryl Rose Sisulu attended a symposium in commemoration of the 1961 Nobel Peace Prize to Chief Albert Luthuli and Dag Hammarskjöld. Events were held both in Sweden and Norway and were arranged by the Nordic Africa Institute in collaboration with the Luthuli Foundation, the Luthuli Museum, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the Dag Hammarskjöld Programme at Voksenaasen in Norway.
The symposium brought back the lasting legacy of the two Nobel laureates and their contributions to the emancipation of humanity at a time when the winds of change were blowing across the African continent. Participants recalled the merits and philosophies of two outstanding global leaders and their lasting contribution to fundamental human rights for all.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Albert Luthuli as the first African in 1960. He was only able to receive the Prize in 1961, the year the Prize was posthumously awarded to Dag Hammarskjöld, the Secretary-General to the United Nations who during his efforts to seek peace in the Congo died in a plane crash in 1961. Chief Luthuli represented the desire of the South African people for dignity and freedom, a desire Mr Hammarskjöld always recognised and supported. The two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates therefore symbolised and represented the global alliance in support of the place the African continent and her people deserve in the world.
Ambassador Beryl Rose Sisulu was one of the speakers during the symposium. She elaborated on the lives of Chief Luthuli and Dag Hammarskjöld and said that they were remarkable men who sacrificed their lives to set certain standards for peace and humanity. Ambassador Sisulu also made special mention of the fact that the Peace Prize Chief Luthuli received in Oslo proved to be one of the most significant milestones in the history of South Africa.
Following the symposium, Ambassador Sisulu also attended the seminar at Uppsala in Sweden and took the opportunity to lay a wreath with members of the Luthuli family at the graveside of Dag Hammarskjöld. Other speakers at the seminar included Dr Albertinah Luthuli, daughter of Chief Albert Luthuli and Henning Melber, Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.
Music lovers were in for a treat on 26 October 2011, when Rønningen Folkehøskole, the Karibu Foundation and the South African Embassy hosted a concert with Norwegian trumpeter, composer, producer and teacher Arne Hiorth together with the South African singers Tebogo Tshotetsi and Sepanya Mahlangu from the San people, the world’s oldest indigenous people. Mr Hiorth has been working on a project based on creating music from traditional grooves, clapping rhymes and vocal themes from the San people of South Africa for several years. He was therefore thrilled to be on stage with the South African musicians on Norwegian soil for the first time. Mr Hiorth said that the aim of this project is to promote the heritage of the San people.
Mr Hiorth, Mr Tshotetsi and Mr Mahlangu were accompanied by Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarseth, percussionist Ottar Nesje, keyboarder Kjetil Bjerkestrand and singer Oddrun Eikli. Together they created a captivating electronic-acoustic sound mixed with traditional Southern African music spanning from a cradle song to shouting signals between settlements.
Following the concert, Ambassador Sisulu hosted a reception for the artists and guests.
The small town of Drøbak, just a short drive from Norway’s capital Oslo, was a hot destination for wine aficionados during the Wine Week Festival, which was held 7-15 October 2011. Each day during the festival, a wine pairing was held at a Drøbak venue where the focus was on a specific country known for its wine. Thanks to its reputation as one of the leading New World wine-producing countries, South Africa was an obvious choice for Drøbak Wine Club and the Mayor of Drøbak, Mr Thore Vestby, who was one of the organisers behind the event, was also very keen to include South Africa in the festival.
The South African wine- and food pairing event was hosted by Ambassador Beryl Rose Sisulu on 14 October at a beautiful restaurant called “Kumlegaarden”. Here, Ambassador Sisulu’s chef teamed up with the restaurant’s chef and created a mouth-watering South African menu consisting of battered fish, chakalaka, lamb curry, a selection of chutneys, dumplings, pap, as well as a delicious trifle dessert. The food was paired with some excellent South African wines from Norwegian wine importer Kurt Olsen, who treated guests to wines from the Africa Five-series.
Before the wine- and food pairing kicked off, Ambassador Sisulu said a few words to welcome the guests and gave them an overview of the wine industry in South Africa, which is showing excellent growth.
The restaurant was full of happy diners, who not only enjoyed tasty food and wine, but also entertainment from the Banthata South African Band, who performed a variety of South African songs. For the occasion, the restaurant had also been adorned with South African flags, artefacts, colourful tables with traditional overlays and South Africa’s national flower, proteas. The South African event turned out to be a huge success and was featured several times in the local newspaper.