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Celebrating Australia on a journey of reconciliation


A toast to the peoples of Australia and South Africa, High Commissioner Tegan Brink of Australia and SA Minister Thulas Nxesi of Employment and Labour  (photo: TDS) 

31 January 2024

Australia, this unique land 'down under,' as it is affectionately known, was recently celebrated by the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa. "A country with a strong culture of open and free debate, much like South Africa," remarked Tegan Brink, High Commissioner of Australia to South Africa, as she opened the festivities.

The pivotal moment in Australia's journey of reconciliation occurred on February 13, 2008, when the then-president Kevin Rudd offered a formal apology to Australia's Indigenous people. This gesture initiated a transformative process in the nation, whose extraordinary biodiversity mirrors the diversity of its people. The acknowledgment of Aboriginal culture and traditions, the significance of indigenous knowledge, and the interweaving of various immigrant cultures have given rise to a multicultural, rich, and dynamic nation.

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Brink noted the shared history of reconciliation between the ancient lands of South Africa and Australia. Both nations, with diverse cultures, are now connected through mutual understanding. Beyond a passion for sports, commonalities in activities like braais/barbecues and outdoor adventures further strengthen the bond. Economic exchanges, particularly in mining investment and critical minerals, lay the foundation for a robust relationship. Additionally, the potential in culinary influences and flavors creates opportunities for greater partnerships in agriculture, food solidarity, and maritime cooperation within the Indian Ocean Rim Association – IORA. As people-to-people exchanges increase, the sectors of travel, tourism, and hospitality are earmarked for development and growth.

Minister Thulas Nxesi of Employment and Labor for South Africa delivered congratulatory remarks on behalf of the South African government, acknowledging Australia's victorious Netball team and highlighting Australia's historical support for anti-apartheid movements and the new democratic dispensation in South Africa. The Minister emphasized the friendly relations between the nations, capable of amicably disagreeing on the international stage while cooperating for mutual benefit.

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The engagement in astronomical sciences reflects a shared interest in understanding the cosmos and its impact on our present and future. Brink highlighted the importance of Middle Power Diplomacy, emphasizing its vital and collective role in multilateralism for a just and fair rule-based world order.

The Australian Embassy staff efforts in recreating multicultural culinary delights of Sydney, the cosmopolitan capital of the province New South Wales were noticed and appreciated. The celebration was further enhanced with a selection of Australian craft beers, gin, and wines, contributing to a joyous and festive atmosphere.  

K.Bhana - TDS

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