Historic handover of Zulu Medicinal Plant scripts at the Norwegian MFA
Ambassador Zondo of the Oslo Mission was invited to deliver a speech at the handing over of the original documents that the “South African Traditional Medicinal Plants from KwaZulu-Natal”-book is based on. The special event took place in the historic Mandela room at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 29 August 2013.
Historic handover in the Mandela room: Mr Nielsen gives the transcripts to Ambassador Zondo.
The event ´s focus was naturally on the original documents with their powerful medicinal and historical value as well as the excellent and interesting book that sprung out from the initial notebooks.
“South African Traditional Medicinal Plants from KwaZulu-Natal” is based on the beautiful notebooks that the Norwegian medical doctor Henrik Greve Blessing wrote when he was visiting the KwaZulu-Natal district in the years 1901 – 1904. Dr Blessing was the medical doctor on board the ship “Fram” that went towards the North Pole with Fridtjof Nansen during the years 1893 – 1896. In these notebooks he described 98 plants, both botanically and with their local use for illness, pains and as agents against poisoning. The book is of cultural, medicinal and pharmaceutical historic interest, and represents part of the historic relations between South Africa and Norway.
MFA advisor, Ms Aastad acted as the MC of the event, which started with opening remarks of MFA representative Ms Angell, followed by some touching words by the owner of the manuscript, Mr John David Nielsen, painter and family of Dr Blessing, whereas he handed over the notebooks to a deeply thankful Ambassador Zondo.
Thereafter Ambassador Zondo expressed her sincere gratitude to Mr John David Nielsen and family for their upmost generous act of handing over the original documents to South Africa, as well as the contributors of the book based on the transcripts as it truly gives an immensely interesting historical insight regarding the strong bond and shared paths of the two countries.
Professor Quinton Johnson of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University gave some inspiring words and insights, while Professor Kaare Norum of the University of Oslo delivered the final remarks. Professor Norum has been one of the editors of the book.
The participants of the ceremony were thereafter invited to the Oslo Mission for a highly enjoyable dinner event in conjunction with the ceremony.
From the left: Professor Johnson, Norway’s Ambassador to SA. Ms Bjørnsgaard, Mr John David Nielsen, SA Ambassador to Norway.
Ms Zondo and Ms Angell from the Norwegian MFA.
SA Embassy Oslo, Norway