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26th Independence Anniversary of Kazakhstan

15 December 2017

21 journalists from 15 countries were invited for an eight day whirlwind tour of three major cities of Kazakhstan, in the heart of Eurasia over eight days. The tour included Astana the new Capital, Almaty – The City of a thousand colours and the old Capital, and Shymkent the Capital of the South Kazakhstan region and the third major city on the tour.

Photo: (l-r) Ambassador Bene M'Poko, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the DRC, Ambassador Talgat Kaliyev of Kazakhstan and Ms. Pamela Tshwete, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation of South Africa at the celebration of the 26th Independence Anniversary of Kazakhstan

It takes a full day’s travel to get to Astana from South Africa. A direct route from Pretoria is 9.500 km and it is probably the furthest I’ve been away from home. I landed at the Astana Nursultan Nazerbayev International Airport in the early hours of the morning, awakened by the pilot’s announcement of the first winter snow falls in Astana and a temperature of minus five degrees. I looked out of the aeroplane window and saw the snowflakes clearly visible against the darkness of a pre-dawn horizon.

 I thought that I had died and had arrived in heaven. A thought that revisited me when Kazakh folklore explained how highly horses where revered in Kazakh culture and were ornately decorated with fine silver and gold, and that a horse takes you to heaven when you die.  It also explained the inextricable relation between Kazakhs and horses. Horsemeat is also offered as a delicacy of traditional Kazakh cuisine.  

Meat is a popular food for Kazakhs, so much so that they say that Kazakhs are the second largest meat-eaters in the world. And when you ask, so who is at number one, the wolf is the answer you get as a typical gesture of Kazakh sense of humour.

Traditional Kazakh cuisine, including horsemeat, kuurdak, naan and apples from Almaty were served at the Kazakhstan national day reception in Pretoria, South Africa. You will be surprised to hear that Kazakhstan is also famous for its tulips.

It is no surprise that South Africa has a full representative mission in Astana, headed by H.E Ms. KST Matthews. It shows the close ties between these two distant lands.
In his remarks at the reception to celebrate Kazakhstan’s 26th Independence anniversary, Ambassador Talgat Kaliyev of Kazakhstan to South Africa, emphasized the huge potential of bilateral relations between the two countries. He congratulated South Africa for its participation at the Astana EXPO 2017.

He noted the visit of Science and Technology Minister of South Africa, Ms.Naledi Pandor in September 2017 generated great interest from both sides in cooperation in the area of advance technologies.

Ambassador  Kaliyev also announced that in January 2018 Kazakhstan will chair the United Nations Security Council and will stay committed to its declared priorities - world free from nuclear weapons, preventing military confrontations, stability in Central Asia, combatting terrorism, peace and security in Africa, sustainable development and improvement of the United Nations system.

Guest of honour Ms. Pamela Tshwete, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation of South Africa welcomed the ongoing development of relations between Kazakhstan and South Africa in her remarks.




February/March 2020

















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