Mandela Day in Uruguay
The Uruguayan Parliament took a decision this year that an event should take place at the seat of Parliament and that it should become an annual event. A Member of Parliament serving on the organizing committee visited the Embassy to solicit our support and asked the Head of Mission to speak at the occasion. The Mundo Afro organizations also formed part of the organizing committee. The Uruguay-Africa Chamber of Commerce (CCUA) was also one of the sponsors of the event and sponsored the printing of T-shirts with the face of Mandela in front and “South Africa, it is possible” and a small SA flag on the back together with the CCUA logo.
Speakers at the event were the President of the House of Deputies, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Deputies, the Mayor of Montevideo and Ambassador Dawie Jacobs, Head of Mission/Charge D’Affaires. Ambassador Jacobs touched on three aspects of Nelson Mandela under the headings Nelson Mandela the Freedom Fighter; Nelson Mandela the President; and Nelson Mandela the Man.
Singers, dancers and drummers of the Afro-descendant community and other Uruguayans performed at the event. A ladies choir from the Afro-descendant community singing the National Anthem of Uruguay followed by Nkosi Sikelela was very special.
Ladies Choir of Afro-descendant Community
The Vice-President of the Uruguayan Postal Service, Ms Solange Moreira, handed an enlarged framed copy of the Nelson Mandela stamp issued last year to commemorate the Year of Afro-descendants to the Head of Mission, Ambassador Dawie Jacobs at the event.
Ms Solange Moreira, Vice-President of Postal Services, handing over the framed enlargement of the Nelson Mandela stamp to Ambassador Dawie Jacobs
Every year since declared Nelson Mandela Day there were various events in honour of Nelson Mandela in Montevideo and the interior. The Embassy was involved in and/or invited to all events and the Head of Mission asked to speak at various events. Since 18 July is also the National Day of Uruguay and thus a public holiday the event took place on 19 July.
The spontaneous celebrations all over Uruguay since the Day was declared as Mandela Day reflects the high esteem in which Nelson Mandela and the values he personifies is held in Uruguay. A further event is planned later this month in Punta del Este by the Governor of the province of Maldonado to which the Head of Mission has also been invited.
SA EMBASSY, MONTEVIDEO
The headmistress, Mrs Beatriz Vernengo and Ms Tarrab in front of a wall decorated with Ndebele designs
Staff members of the Embassy in Montevideo visited the Republic of South Africa School in a less affluent area of Montevideo on 24 July 2010 in order to maintain and further strengthen the ties with this school that decided to be named after South Africa in the 1990’s and had the name finally registered in 2006.
Since Mandela Day falls on Uruguay’s National Day and was also during a school break, it was decided to link this annual visit to Nelson Mandela Day in order to provide a bigger impact on the very receptive pupils. Staff members as well as the Headmistress of the school wore Nelson Mandela Day T-shirts and Mandela Day posters and the SA flag were also on display. A banner designed by an Embassy contact featuring various Embassy visits and events at the school caused great excitement among the teachers and pupils alike.
In the spirit of Mandela Day the Embassy staff served each pupil with refreshments and this was received with great appreciation and enthusiasm. A number of pupils drew paintings with South African themes, including the Blue Train and African animals, and handed that to staff members as a token of appreciation. The Embassy staff was also invited to visit one of the classes where the teacher and pupils explained a community project the school is involved in.
The Blue Train and SA animals painted by some younger pupils
Despite limited resources the Embassy succeeds to maintain a strong bond with the Republic of South Africa School through diverse and cost-effective activities. The Embassy’s efforts are deeply appreciated by the teachers, parents and of course the pupils coming from less privileged situations.
INPUT BY SA EMBASSY, MONTEVIDEO