We welcome recently accredited heads of mission to South Africa and wish them a dynamic and fruitful tour of duty in the rich cultural and diverse splendour of the Southern African region. The Diplomatic Society has developed into a unique forum for diplomacy since it was established in 1997 and we encourage your interactions with us, our networks, platforms and services. A visit to Freedom Park in Pretoria is essential to encounter an interactive history of South Africa. The Embassy of Argentina has recently hosted an event which is the title of this newsletter “The Value of Memory” as the country confronts its past and moves forward through healing. Egypt’ s Ambassador to South Africa H.E Ahmed Al Fadly hosted a roundtable discussion on the development of the African Unions Agenda 2063 and India showed its unwavering commitment to South Africa launching the Gandhi Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills. The Centre provides a pragmatic solution to overcoming the high unemployment rate in South Africa. Job creation and energy will be some of the priority issues for South Africans as they head to the polls for the hotly contested sixth Municipal elections since the dawn of a constitutional democracy in South Africa. Diplomatic Missions will be briefed as the elections proceed and will be updated from the Independent Electoral Commissions operation centre (ROC) in Pretoria. “Poyekhali! (off we go!),” exclaimed Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut whose bust was unveiled at the oldest Planetarium in the Southern Hemisphere at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) which will celebrate its centennial in 2022. We are reminded that international relations and cooperation has its most significant impact and value at the local/municipal level.
Kirtan Bhana Founder and Publisher
SA welcomes new High Commissioners and Ambassadors
President Cyril Ramaphosa has presided over a ceremony to receive letters of credence from incoming diplomats from countries across the world. The diplomats hail from 15 countries from across Europe, Asia, North and South America and Africa and have been elected by their respective countries to serve as Ambassadors or High Commissioners to South Africa. While meeting the President, the senior diplomats took the opportunity to commit to strengthening ties between South Africa and their respective countries.
Egypt’s Ambassador hosts a discussion on the role of AUDA-NEPAD and the UN in implementing AU Agenda 2063
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. Ambassadors and High Commissioners from a number of African countries, as well as the Secretary General of the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) and the UNIDO Representative and Head of its Regional Office in South Africa, gathered at Egypt House to discuss with guest speakers Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in South Africa, the role of AUDA-NEPAD and of the UN in helping African countries achieve the goals and aspirations set by Agenda 2063 thereby realizing “the Africa we want”.
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
“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.
Photo: DG Vusimuzi Mkhize, Ambassador-designate Claudio Perez Paladino and Sipho Mdanda, Curator at Freedom Park
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, included 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.
Morocco’s Essaouira: The tolerant city where things have always been done differently
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.
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.