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When everything seemed possible

9 November 2019

On the 9th of November 1989 the world was irreversibly changed when the Berlin Wall came down and everything seemed possible. It was a day marked by jubilation, not only in Germany but the world over. At the same time in South Africa apartheid was collapsing and three months later, in February 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison. “These events marked the moment in history when both our countries turned from oppression to freedom, from injustice to democracy, from despair to hope,” said Dr Martin Schäfer, Ambassador of Germany to South Africa.

Photo: Dr Martin Schäfer, Ambassador of Germany with Ms Sabine Dall'Omo, President of the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Ms Barbara Creecy, SA Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

The German Embassy and its partners organised a Deutschland Fest in Pretoria’s CBD to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Revellers were treated to music, theatre, art, debates, food and drink. The family day catered to everybody’s needs; there was even a fun corner for the kiddies and a corner to watch live Bundesliga soccer matches.

Dr Schäfer and Ms Barbara Creecy, SA Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries spoke about the broad cooperation between Germany and South Africa. In 1994 Germany committed 268 million euro in cooperation that extends over many sectors including, education, science, technology, environment, political and social matters.

The Bi-national Commission signed in 1996 is the key forum of collaboration between the two countries. Political relations were strengthened by President Steinmier’s visit to South Africa last November and Minister Creecy said that this relation will be further strengthened by Chancellor Merkel’s visit to South Africa in early 2020.

More than 600 German corporations are doing business in South Africa employing more than 100,000 employees. Germany is the biggest investor in South Africa and the second largest source of tourism. Minister Creecy urged Germans to continue visiting South Africa to experience its game parks, its delicious cuisine and its delicate wines.

Many German partners were present at the festival and provided information to guests of their products and services offered. The SA – German Chamber, co-hosts, built a replica of the Berlin Wall which gave guests the opportunity to ‘break down the wall’. It was also a symbolic gesture of breaking down barriers in society.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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January/February 2020

 
 
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