60th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space

12 April 2021

Today Russia celebrates the 60th anniversary of the legendary flight that made Yuri Gagarin the first man in space, a major source of national pride for millions of his countrymen.

On 12 April 1961 Gagarin took off in his Vostok spacecraft from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, then, part of the Soviet Union. It was then that the 27 year old Gagarin exclaimed his iconic catchphrase “Poyekhali!” (Let's go!).

His flight lasted 108 minutes, the time it took to orbit the Earth, before returning to home soil. Gagarin bailed out as planned and parachuted onto a field near the Volga River, southeast of Moscow.

Global Investment in Sustainable Development - 5th CC Forum held in Dubai

by Alberto Turkstra, Project Manager, Diplomatic World Institute
HH Sheikha Noora Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain receiving CC Forum's Sustainable Businesswoman award. Also pictured are Max Studennikoff, Chairman & Founder of CC Forum and HE Awadh Mohd Sheikh Majrin Bin Sultan

8 April 2021

The 5th iteration of the CC Forum “Global Investment in Sustainable Development” was held in-person in Dubai on March 31 and April 1, 2021. CC Forum has grown, in a very short time, into a leading platform where “governments present their innovative new strategies; where inspirational scientists relay to the world their revolutionary discoveries; where large corporations and small companies alike make global announcements, and where the brightest start-ups connect to the savviest of investors”.

ASEAN Golf Day forges closer cooperation between ASEAN and South Africa
(l-r) Mr Chua Thai Keong, High Commissioner of Singapore, Mr Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of Dirco, Mr Salman Al Farisi, Ambassador of Indonesia, Justice Steven Majiedt, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Mr Hoang Van Loi, Ambassador of Vietnam

6 April 2021

The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Pretoria, South Africa, as chair of the ASEAN Pretoria Committee (APC) 2021 organized the ASEAN Golf Day 2021 which was held on 30 March at Blue Valley Golf Estate in Midrand. Strict Covid-19 protocols were observed.

The ASEAN Golf Day was attended by 40 participants consisting of Ambassadors and representatives of ASEAN countries as well as diplomats from other countries based in Pretoria, representatives from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Department of Defence and the Department of Human Settlements of South Africa.

South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, opened the tournament with an early morning tee-off.

Vietnam – opportunity, admiration and acclaim

(l-r) Chairperson of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, CPV Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh

6 April 2021

World leaders, heads of international organizations and regional bodies congratulated and acknowledged the election of the leaders of the State and the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) announced on Monday. Chairperson of National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, CPV Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh were confirmed in their leadership roles after the deliberations and consultations of the 13th CPV congress which took place in February 2021.

Land Day

By HE Hanan Jarrar, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to South Africa

31 March 2021

Around the world, Palestinians have commemorated Land Day on 30 March each year since 1976. On that day, thousands of Palestinians from towns and villages in the Galilee region, northern Israel, marched in protest against an Israeli order to confiscate land belonging to indigenous communities in the area. The equivalent of 2000 hectares was ordered for appropriation.

Israel's attempt to seize land was viewed as a continuation of the policy to convert the territory at the expense of Palestinians. The vast majority had already been expelled by Israel and the land and property they left behind was seized by the Israeli government through dubious legal means. To protest against the new measures, the Palestinian population declared a general strike.

Foreigners are investing in real estate in South Africa, should you?

29 March 2021

Despite the economic difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the property market in South Africa is making a strong comeback. The oversupply of housing has resulted in a buyer's market, driving a renewed demand for properties.

The latest real estate statistics reveal that there has been an increase in foreigners investing in property across South Africa. The favourable exchange rates, low-interest rates and local banks providing financial assistance to foreigners make it a perfect environment to buy. From million-dollar villas in Cape Town to luxury mansions in Johannesburg, foreigners are taking advantage of this ideal investment opportunity.


The new Hungarian satellite is in orbit - SMOG-1 is working

29 March 2021

SMOG-1, the small satellite of Budapest University of Technology and Economics, was successfully launched on the 22nd of March, 2021, at 7:07:12 local time and was put into orbit on the 23rd of March, 2021. A Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with a Fregat final stage was launched from Baikonur spaceport (Kazakhstan), which carried South-Korean CAS-500-1 satellite as a primary payload and 37 other spacecrafts. SMOG-1 and 5 other smallsats were deployed automatically from the 32kg Italian UNISAT-7 and were put into a 550 km orbit early afternoon on the 24th of March. The first contact with the fourth Hungarian satellite was made by several radio amateurs in Hungary and the remote controlled primary ground control station of the developers between 0:46 and 0:56 on the 25th of March. The callsign of SMOG-1 is HA5BME, every subsystem is working properly, the onboard temperature is 31°C, the battery is 90 % charged.

Commemorating the Anniversary of Victory of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale
Ambassador Ilya Rogachev of Russia awarding a commemorative medal to Ambassador Rodolfo Benitez Verson of Cuba (Photo: Embassy of Russia)

29 March 2021

On 23 March 2021, a commemorative event was held to mark the 33rd anniversary of the victory of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale during the Civil War in Angola (1975 – 2002) held at 'Freedom Park' in Pretoria, Tshwane.

Amongst the attendees were South African Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Ambassador of Russia to South Africa Mr Ilya Rogachev, Ambassador of Cuba to South Africa Mr Rodolfo Benitez Verson, representatives of the diplomatic missions of Namibia and Angola, veterans who had participated in the battle.

India confers Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

26 March 2021

“Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 has been conferred on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, one of the greatest leaders of our subcontinent. Year 2020 marked the birth centenary of Bangabandhu. He remains an icon of indomitable courage and tireless struggle for his millions of admirers,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet.

PM Narendra Modi, who chairs the jury for Gandhi Peace Prize, said Bangabandhu was a champion of human rights and a hero to Indians as well.

The press release of the announcement said, “The Jury met on 19th March, 2021 and after due deliberations, unanimously decided to select Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2020, in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.”

UK Climate Investments marks delivery of 254 MW of Renewable Energy Projects in South Africa
Kruisvallei Hydro plant

25 March 2021

UK Climate Investments has marked the delivery of 254 MW of clean energy projects it has helped finance in South Africa following the inauguration of Kruisvallei Hydro, a 4 MW run-of-river hydropower facility in the Free State province today.

Kruisvallei Hydro is the last of three renewable energy projects part-financed by the UK Government’s International Climate Finance programme, UK Climate Investments, to have entered commercial operation. The milestone at Kruisvallei Hydro follows the successful delivery of the 110 MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm in the Western Cape province and the 140 MW Kangnas Wind Farm in the Northern Cape province in October and November last year.

MIKTA – Unity in diversity

25 March 2021

The Diplomatic Society hosted a webinar to create greater awareness of MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, Korea (ROK), Turkey and Australia), a diverse consultative group of middle power countries. MIKTA has developed into an innovative partnership since 2013 after a meeting initiated by Mexico on the sidelines of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

Australia took over chair from the Republic of Korea for 2021. The agenda for the webinar was pertinently themed Covid-19 response and recovery, Gender equality and Climate action. The distinguished panel was made up of the Heads of Mission of the respective countries to South Africa – High Commissioner Gita Kamath of Australia, Ambassador Chull-joo Park of the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Ana Luisa Fajer of Mexico, Ambassador Elif Çomoğlu Űlgen of Turkey and Ambassador Salman Al Farisi of Indonesia. The session was moderated by Kirtan Bhana, Director of the Diplomatic Society, opening remarks were delivered by Sanusha Naidoo, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for Global Dialogue who also served as respondent together with Advocate Ajay Sooklal, legal and economic diplomacy expert.

Venezuela Pays Tribute to African Independence Leaders
Ambassador Mairin Moreno of Venezuela pictured with Duma Nkosi, Chair of the OR Tambo Foundation (l) and Dali Tambo, son of Oliver Tambo (r)

29 March 2021

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on 4 March conferred the Francisco de Miranda Order, in its first class, to six fighters for the liberation of southern Africa. Due the restrictions incurred by Covid-19, the event was held virtually and was titled 'Dreams of Freedom'.

The African leaders who were conferred the Order were Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna, better known as Sam Nujoma, founding father and first President of Namibia; Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique; Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of International Relations of Namibia; Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, Minister of Defense of Zimbabwe; Luzia Inglês Van-Dunem, president of the Angolan Women’s Organization and general of the Armed Forces, and Oliver Tambo (posthumous), one of the leaders of South African independence and a central figure in the African National Congress.

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