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What does it mean to be South African

What does it mean to be South African

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19 April 2024 Issue 313 - What does it mean to be South African




The Diplomatic Society Welcomes New Heads

A group photo of Heads of Mission together with their partners/colleagues at the Credential Ceremony which took place at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse, Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria on 9 April 2024 (photo: Kopano Tlape/GCIS)

Welcome to South Africa, a nation of profound historical significance and remarkable transformation. As you step onto the soil of this vibrant continent, you become part of a narrative of resilience, reconciliation, and progress.
Thirty years since the end of apartheid, South Africa stands as an inspiration to the world. The journey from the shackles of colonialism and the inhumanity of Apartheid to the dawn of democracy has been arduous, but the spirit of the South African people has never wavered and neither has their resolve and determination to forge a future of equality, justice, and opportunity for all.
You arrive at a momentous time in a country that is not only celebrating 30 years of its freedom, but will also be holding its 7th general elections as a constitutional democracy.

What does it mean to be South African

Renowned South African artist Mmakgabo Mmapula Sebidi (l) with musician and performing artist Anna Masina (r) (photo: TDS)

The rapid and radical transformation that South Africans have experienced over the past 30 years can be described as a ‘baptism of fire’. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 signalling the end of the Cold War and ushering in a unipolar world. These global inflection points have had a direct bearing on the current situation in the country and the path of growth, development and progress it is following. In 1990 Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president was released from unlawful incarceration after 27 years.
‘Ntlo E Etsamayang – The Walking House’,  an exhibition by renowned South African artist Mmakgabo Mmapula Sebidi that recently opened at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery is symbolic of the significance of the transformative journey of  discovery of what it means to be South African. Three decades ago 28 artworks from this body of work went missing in Sweden, reported stolen in the small town of Nykoping where Sebidi served a month long residency in 1991. The lost artworks were discovered and returned to Sebidi in South Africa and this exhibition is a celebration of the return of her ‘children’.

Africa is a Premier Travel and Tourism Hotspot

Statistics show that the African continent is gaining in stature as a premier tourism destination post Covid. The reasons for this are not surprising considering the vastness and majesty of the continent and the plethora of experiences that it has to offer.
The Tourism Investment Forum Africa (TIFA) 2024, hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from April 10-12, in collaboration with World Travel Market Africa, was a gathering for crucial stakeholders from the public and private sectors of the tourism industry. Together, they delved into investment prospects within the sector, with a focal point on the theme "Unlocking Intra-Africa Tourism Investment, Building Long-Term Sustainability, and Resilience." Speakers from across the globe deliberated on key sector topics, including competitiveness and soft infrastructure, green tourism investments, as well as technology and innovation.


An Unstoppable March Towards Prosperity
Kenyan President William Ruto (left) participates in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Talanta Sports City to be built with Chinese assistance in Nairobi, Kenya, on 1 March (XINHUA)
In an inspirational speech in 1996, then South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki said, “Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace! However improbable it may sound to the sceptics, Africa will prosper!”
The 37th African Union (AU) Summit was convened in Addis Ababa on 17 February, where leaders from across Africa converged to deliberate on pressing issues and chart a course for the future of the continent. The summit echoed the enduring spirit articulated by Mbeki in his iconic “I am an African” speech, affirming that despite challenges, Africa’s March towards prosperity and peace remains unstoppable.

“We owe it to” victims of genocide to speak up
This year marks 30 years since the genocide in Rwanda which began on 7 April 1994. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was amongst the dignitaries who attended the wreath-laying ceremony and National Commemoration Ceremony in Kigali.
In his weekly newsletter to the nation, Ramaphosa said that thirty years ago, in the space of just a hundred days, one of the worst mass murders in recent times happened on African soil.
Approximately 1 million men, women and children were slaughtered within a period of 100 days in Rwanda in an orchestrated campaign of violence that involved organs of state, civilians, militias, the local media and even churches.


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