Apartheid-Era’s Last President, FW de Klerk, Was a Man at War With His History

FW de Klerk leaves a divided and contested historical legacy.

By Ray Hartley, Research Director, The Brenthurst Foundation

12 November 2021

To many South Africans, FW de Klerk was the last white leader of the apartheid state who changed tack to save his image as the Struggle closed in on the old order.

To the traditional Afrikaner nationalists, he is the “verraaier” who sold out the cause of racial separation and capitulated to the ANC.

Finally, to pragmatists – a minority in today’s feverish political discourse – De Klerk was a man who turned away from the straight-jacket of his past and did the right thing when asked to make a rational decision about the future of his country.

Borderless Batik – JIBB

Madam Umi Al Farisi showing Princess Swati Dlamini Mandela the art of Batik

9 November 2021

South African national hero, Nelson Mandela and global freedom icon was fond of batik shirts and they became his signature style. This is just one example of the global popularity and recognition of Indonesian Batik. In 2009 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) acknowledged Batik as a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Dialogue between China and the world

International Forum on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era

by Sibusiso R Bakana

8 November 2021

The eighth edition of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is due to be held in Dakar, Senegal, from 29-30 November 2021. The theme of the conference will be “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on 5 November, he said that the meeting would “review and assess the follow-up implementation of the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit as well as the joint China-Africa response to Covid-19, and chart the course for China-Africa relations for the next three years and more to come.”

Egypt’s Ambassador hosts a discussion on the role of AUDA-NEPAD and the UN in implementing AU Agenda 2063

29 October 2021

In an initiative aimed at exchanging ideas among African development practitioners and thought leaders on issues of critical importance to the African continent, Egypt’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ahmed El Fadly, hosted a roundtable discussion on the role of international and regional institutions in supporting the implementation of the African Union development Agenda 2063 at his official residence on 26 October 2021.

India - A Friend Indeed
High Commissioner of India to South Africa, Jaideep Sarkar and South African Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela at the official opening of the Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills at the Tshwane South TVET College, Pretoria West Campus.

29 October 2021

The Gandhi Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills, inspired by two international icons, was launched on 28 October 2021, in the month of the Mahatma’s birth. This Centre is a reflection of the strong, historical, unbreakable bond between India and South Africa.

High Commissioner of India to South Africa, Jaideep Sarkar and South African Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela officially opened the Centre at the Tshwane South TVET College, Pretoria West Campus.

Following India’s ancient philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ meaning the world is one family, Sarkar said that India strongly believes that no one nation can progress in isolation and that this project would serve as a rightful example on how countries can work together in achieving the dream of collective growth and development.

Unveiling of Yuri Gagarin bust at Johannesburg Planetarium

Vice-Chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi of Wits and Ambassador Ilya Rogachev of the Russian Federation toasting to Yuri Gagarin who became the first human to travel into space 60 years ago

21 October 2021

“Poyekhali! (off we go!),” exclaimed Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut, as he was launched into outer space on 12 April 1961 and became the first human to travel into space 60 years ago. This historic event of human achievement was celebrated at an unveiling of a bust of the legendary cosmonaut at the University of Witwatersrand’s (Wits) Planetarium in Johannesburg which also celebrated 60 years since it was established.

Ambassador Ilya Rogachev of the Russian Federation to South Africa and Vice Chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi of Wits spoke of the great significance of the event at the commemoration.

The Value of Memory

DG Vusimuzi Mkhize, Ambassador-designate Claudio Perez Paladino and Sipho Mdanda, Curator at Freedom Park

27 October 2021

The Embassy of Argentina in South Africa, together with Freedom Park in Pretoria organized a Cultural Programme on Memory, Truth and Justice taking place from 27 to 29 October.

The Programme, includes film screenings, poetry reading, story-telling and a photographic exhibition that aims to shed light on the importance of Memory, Truth and Justice in Argentina, after the State terrorism the country suffered between 1976 and 1983.

Mr. Claudio Perez Paladino, Ambassador designate of Argentina to South Africa said at the opening of the Programme that besides sharing experiences and practices between the two countries, the Programme is also organized to support the candidacy of the ESMA Memory Site Museum – Former Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and Extermination to be declared a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

UN Day - peace, development, human rights, and opportunity for all

View of the General Assembly Hall. Photo UN/Cia Pak

24 October 2021

UN day is observed on October 24, every year since 1948. This day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter,  the founding document of this great non-partisan institution that has been working towards global peace and equality. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. 24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.

Secretary-General António Guterres' message (2021)

Seventy-six years ago, the United Nations was created as a vehicle of hope for a world emerging from the shadow of catastrophic conflict.

Morocco’s Essaouira: The tolerant city where things have always been done differently

Essaouira, Morocco (image: pixabay.com)

Even as the great schism between the Muslim and Jewish religions deepened, Essaouira became the only Muslim city with a majority Jewish population, totalling 16,000. Jews were given the protection of the King’s personal seal.

23 October 2021

By Ray Hartley and Greg Mills

The opening scene of Orson Welles’ acclaimed 1952 production of Shakespeare’s Othello pans the length of the Skala de la Ville, the 16th-century sea ramparts running along the Atlantic facing cliffs of the Moroccan city of Essaouira.

Today, as 70 years ago, the harbour is packed with blue boats, the tourists side-stepping piles of drying nets, the confusion of swooping gulls and coveting cats, and the open trays of skate, prawns and sardines destined for the seafood restaurants inside the city’s walls. The alleyways of the Medina exude a surprising calm despite the usual Moroccan scents of sandal- and lemon-woods, leather and spices, and the clash of colour of its clothes, carpets and ceramics.

A billion vaccinations in 40 weeks - India

21 October 2021

When comparing a million to a billion, the analogy using time provides an apt differentiation. One million seconds would pass in about eleven and a half days, while a billion seconds would last for thirty-one and a half years. India has achieved the milestone of administering one billion doses of vaccines for Covid-19. This achievement makes 30% of India’s 1.3 billion people fully vaccinated while 75% have received one dose so far.

Mission ‘Covid Suraksha’ was launched in 2020 with the establishment of the National Task Force for Focused Research on Corona Vaccine. The priority was to provide financial and technical support to indigenous vaccine manufacturers. This has resulted in the world's first DNA-based COVID vaccine Zycov-D, developed by Zydus Cadila, which will facilitate vaccination of children above 12 years. The Mission also supported the capacity development of Bharat Biotech and provided support for infrastructure and technology development for other public sector manufacturers.

From Poppy to Coffee: How Thailand Became a Model for Alternative Development

Mr. Chutintorn Gongsakdi

21 October 2021

When their bright red petals fall away, farmers would slit open the egg-shaped seed pods of Papaver somniferum or opium poppy. Milky ‘poppy tear’ would then ooze out from these open wounds, starting the extraction of the crudest form of opium. This method of poppy cultivation can be traced back to at least five millennia ago in the texts of the Sumerians, who called the plant Hul Gil, or the ‘plant of joy’.

Photos from left to right: poppy heads with seeds (credit: tiborgartner, iStockphoto.com) and close up on Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy cultivation (credit: Lex20, iStockphoto.com)

Introducing Indonesian Coffee Culture to SA

Ambassador Salman Al Farisi of Indonesia and High Commissioner Zainal Arif Mantaha of Singapore at the Indonesian Coffee Tasting

19 October 2021

Coffee cultivation in Indonesia began in the late 1600s and early 1700s, and has played an important role in the growth of the country. Indonesia’s geography and climate is well-suited for coffee plantations with it being near the equator and with numerous interior mountainous regions on its main islands, creating well-suited microclimates for the growth and production of coffee.

Top Indonesian baristas Muhammad Aga and Resianri Triane, were present at a Coffee Tasting event in South Africa organised by the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) Johannesburg and the Embassy of Indonesia in Pretoria. In Johannesburg, the event was held at Father Coffee from 12 to 14 October and attracted many coffee lovers.

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