Building Bridges between the Republics of South Africa and Congo
Pictured standing back (l-r) Minister Jean- Claude Gakosso and Minister Paul Mashatile
Front row (l-r) Ambassador Ognimba of Congo to SA, National Librarians Francois Onday-Akiera of Congo and John Tsebe of South Africa
Remarks by South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, on the signing of the Programme of Cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Congo
16 November 2012
Your Excellency the Honourable Minister of Culture and the Arts from the Republic of Congo, Minister Jean- Claude Gakosso
Your Excellency Ambassador Ognimba
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Let me take this opportunity on behalf of the people and the government of South Africa to welcome my counterpart and brother His Excellency the Honorable Minister of Culture and the Arts from the Republic of Congo, Minister Jean-Claude Gakosso to South Africa.
Your Excellency, the Honourable Minister, we meet here today to once again take forward the already cordial relations between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Congo.
In particular, today we gather to strengthen our cultural relations through the signing of a Programme of Cooperation between our two countries.
By doing this we are strengthening people to people contact and thus further deepening our bonds of friendship and solidarity.
Today we are taking relations between our two countries to a higher and perhaps more important level.
Indeed today we are commiting ourselves to specific programmes of cooperation in the field of arts, culture and heritage; thus enuring that we build bridges that connect our people.
As South Africa, we have always maintained that; people to people contact is an important instrument in promoting greater understanding and appreciation of one another.
People to people contact is also the key that opens wider the doors of interaction, be it in the fields of trade and commerce, education, technological exchanges and many other strategic areas of human endeavor.
Indeed it is through greater people to people contact that we can effectively advance our common goal of building a better, caring and more humane Africa and the world.
The agreement we are signing today binds our two counties to joint programmes in specific areas such as heritage preservation and promotion, including the focus on registering more of our places of Outstanding Universal Value for nomination to the World Heritage List, libraries, books and publishing as well as technical skills development for the music industry.
Your Excellency, we sign this programme of cooperation at a time when we in South Africa are repositioning the arts, culture and heritage sector to become the main drivers of social inclusion, job creation and economic growth.
This we are doing through the implementation of the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, which is a strategy not only of government but of our entire sector.
Going forward it is our wish to form strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships both inside and outside our country as we implement the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy.
I therefore look forward to more partnerships between our two countries in the arts, culture and heritage sector.
Let this signing ceremony cement further of our bonds of friendship and solidarity.
Let this signing ceremony also be a symbol our commitment to work together towards a better Africa and a better world, through greater cooperation in the arts, culture and heritage.