Diplomatic council banner October 2020
 
 
 
 
News                                                                               

A retrospective glance on Turkey’s strong bond with South Africa

by Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in South Africa

29 October 2020

Today, we have the honour to celebrate the 97th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey and to share this joy with our South African friends.

As the world battles with COVID-19, the Turkish Embassy in Pretoria is striving to strike a difficult balance between fully resuming our duties and respecting all rules of social distancing to keep everybody safe. Therefore, it is bittersweet for us to only celebrate our national day through virtual platforms, since this year at the height of the pandemic, we cannot risk inviting all our citizens and the friends of Turkey for a worthy celebration we have come to enjoy each year.

As the Turkish Ambassador in South Africa, I had the utmost pleasure to host the Republic Day for the fourth time in Pretoria. As I look back on this special day, I take great pride in baring witness to the unfolding of the quiet evolution of our bilateral relations with South Africa.

Czechia’s National Day Celebration

by H.E. Dr. Pavel Řezáč, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in South Africa

28 October 2020

Dear Readers, Compatriots, and Friends of the Czech Republic
Another year has passed marking already 102 years of Czech independence. Although this 28 October cannot be celebrated as it always deserves to be, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and ongoing cooperation which allows the relationship between our countries to grow from strength to strength.
Founding of Czechoslovakia, 28 October 1918, is indeed a very special day in our history as it represents the beginning of the new era of self-determination and freedom, which despite being tested by WWII and Communist domination, remain the core values of our democracy. Notwithstanding freedom may have many difficulties and democracy may not be perfect, the long walk to freedom which both our countries had to embark on, makes us appreciate and enjoy what our great statesmen such as Václav Havel and Nelson Mandela fought so hard for.
Given the global economy, every country, every household, and individual have been put through unimaginable challenges since the beginning of this year, please allow me to rather focus on positive aspects of the relationship between Czechia and South Africa.

Austria National Day 2020

26 October 2020

The normal annual celebration of Austria’s National Day on 26 October could not take place this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Johann Brieger, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to South Africa addressed Austrian citizens and friends of Austria remotely.

Pictured are Dr. Johann Brieger, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to South Africa and Mrs. Roswitha Brieger

The Austrian Embassy, together with its EU partners, repatriated over 600 stranded Austrians, the biggest ever repatriation mounted by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, said Ambassador Brieger.

Bilaterally Austria and South Africa have enjoyed a fantastic year which brought record bilateral trade volumes till the beginning of the year, and Ambassador Brieger said that he is optimistic to build on that solid foundation for a rapid recovery and further expansion in the years to come.

Time Slips, Memories Fade –But Lessons of Leadership and War Remain

by Greg Mills

21 October 2020

After nearly 80 years, the veterans are few and fading. And the battle did not last long; little over a week. It was bloody by modern metrics, with 12,000 casualties over this time, but not in the context of the Second World War with its 70 million dead. Dr Greg Mills discusses Crete's efforts during the World War II and what lessons can be learnt.

It was a long time ago now. After nearly 80 years, the veterans are few and fading. And the battle did not last long; little over a week. It was bloody by modern metrics, with 12,000 casualties over this time, but not in the context of the Second World War with its 70 million dead.

In the dry sweep of history, 43,000 Allied and Greek forces, about half of whom had been evacuated from mainland Greece the previous month, were defeated by a group of 20,000 German parachutists in an airborne invasion of Crete starting on 20 May 1941. Once the airfield at Maleme to the west of the island was captured, and German reinforcements could be landed, the Allied force retreated, about 18,000 of whom were evacuated from the tiny fishing village of Sphakia to the south.

Almost 4,000 Allied troops were killed, another 2,000 Royal Navy personnel were lost, and 11,000 were captured.

European Film Festival 2020 Goes Virtual
12-22 November 2020

21 October 2020

This year’s European Film Festival goes virtual with an excellent line-up of twelve brand new films, all of which are premiere screenings in South Africa. Of these eleven films are screened free of charge and one will collect a fee towards a worthy cause.

Emphasising her support for the festival’s continuity despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, EU Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Riina Kionka, said: “Twelve films in eleven days shows the determination of this European partnership to overcome difficult circumstances. Since my arrival in South Africa this is my second European Film Festival: I can tell you that it is a cultural highlight not to be missed. In addition, I invite you to participate in the various special events lined up during the Festival!”

Old Worlds and New
Invoking a moment of reflection, and the opportunity to reset our attitude to the world and our 2020 circumstances, this year’s 7th edition of the European Film Festival, is about Then and Now, with the films inscribing an arc from Old Worlds to New.

Covid-19 vaccine - SCO countries lead the way

by Adv Ajay Sooklal, Legal and Economic Diplomacy Specialist and Kirtan Bhana, The Diplomatic Society

19 October 2020

Before Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister for Health for South Africa, and his wife Dr May Mkhize tested positive for the Covid-19 corona virus, the Minister was engaging various Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Pretoria, South Africa, in a mark of solidarity during this global pandemic. As a qualified and experienced medical doctor Dr May Mkhize was also working with communities in need of support and guidance in these unprecedented circumstances.

Photo: (l-r) Advocate Ajay Sooklal, Mr Kanat Tumysh, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health for South Africa and Mr Chua Thai Keong, High Commissioner of Singapore. Ambassador Tumysh hosted Minister Zweli Mkhize at his residence in Pretoria.

As Minister Mkhize and his wife recovers at home, he sends heartfelt gratitude for all the well wishes from the diplomatic community. He urges all to continue practicing safe and healthy behaviour.

SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) members Kazakhstan, Russia, China and India have taken the lead in developing a vaccine. In Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Healthcare are carrying out clinical trials of QazCovid-in vaccine. The Kazakh Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems (RIBSP), developers of the vaccine, first tested it on themselves.

High Risk Countries Revised

19 October 2020

The South African Government has revised the list of high risk countries based on a risk categorization model.

(Image: pixabay.com)

We continue to be reminded that the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us and we need to continue to take precautions. In its last meeting, the Cabinet instructed the Ministers of Health, Home Affairs and Tourism to lead a process to review the list. The review of the list of high risk countries was done in such a way that it strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods.

Black Wednesday

19 October 2020

Government joins the media industry in commemorating and celebrating the Media Freedom Day. The day was commonly referred as Black Wednesday following the banning of a number of newspapers and arresting of their respective Editors as they were exposing the atrocities of the Apartheid regime.
This day is set aside to commemorate the freedom enjoyed by the media industry in South Africa following a one-day crackdown in 1977 on publications and outlawing anti-apartheid groups by the apartheid regime. Today marks exactly 43 years since the brutal apartheid regime silenced independent voices by closing certain publications. On Wednesday 19 October 1977, the apartheid regime showed its contempt for freedom of expression and media freedom when it banned The World, Weekend World as well as other publications and arrested Percy Qoboza who was the editor of The World and various other black consciousness activists.

The Asian Aspiration - Can Africa Become the Next Asia

Narrated by Bobi Wine, and featuring contributions from former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and former Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn, The Asian Aspiration is a short documentary which asks a simple question: can Africa be the next Asia?

Based on the popular book of the same name, the documentary draws on research by South Africa’s Brenthurst Foundation, pooled across 30 countries in Africa and Asia, to see how Asia’s story of rapid and successful development can be emulated in Africa.

The film takes a look at the economic and political circumstances which precipitated the meteoric rise of some of Asia’s biggest economies, specifically Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. It then examines how these circumstances can replicated in Africa by prioritising business, eradicating corruption and opening up to foreign expertise.

Exploring Ubuntu and Hasta Brata shared values of Indonesia and South Africa

19 October 2020

“Since ancient time until now, Javanese shadow puppet has played an important role in the lives of Indonesian people. It is used not only as a tool of entertainment for the public but also as a tool for various messages such as philosophical values, Islamic values, and ethical leadership. It includes the famous South African philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’,” said the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, Salman Al Farisi on the virtual discussion titled, “Ubuntu values in Hasta Brata story of Javanese Puppet Play”

The close friendship between Indonesia and South Africa is being increasingly felt by carrying out various joint activities. This time the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria invited South Africa to discuss universal values embedded in the cultures of the two nations, namely, Hasta Brata and Ubuntu through a virtual discussion entitled "Ubuntu values in Hasta Brata story of Javanese Puppet play"

Two Decades of A Shared Journey toward New Heights in the New Era— Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
 

China Focac Wang Yiby Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China

19 October 2020

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). On 12 October, President Xi Jinping and President Macky Sall of Senegal, the current African Co-Chair of FOCAC, issued a joint congratulatory message to mark this important occasion. Embracing the dawn of the new century and the trend of peace and development 20 years ago, China and our brothers in Africa decided to initiate FOCAC to promote win-win cooperation. Since then, the family of China and African nations has had its own platform for collective dialogue and mechanism for practical cooperation, ushering in a brand new chapter in China-Africa relations.

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