Wednesday, May 29, 2024

South Africa National Day Celebration  2024   

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“30 Years of Democracy, partnership and growth” 

By Roy Lie Atjam

On May 3, 2024, the National Day Reception of the Republic of South Africa was held at Raadhuis De Paauw in Wassenaar. The venue, which was once the residence of Prince Fredrik, is now the town hall of Wassenaar. The reception was hosted by H.E. Ambassador Vusimuzi Madonsela and his spouse, Mrs. Yvonne Madonsela. The reception was a great success, with excellent food and beverages. Members of the diplomatic community came out  in strength. Moreover, the diaspora performed an impressive iBhasi dance, and inspiring speeches were given by the mayor of Wassenaar, Mr Leendert de Lange, Ms Shola Sanni, Director of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa at Netflix, and Ambassador Mr Vusimuzi Madonsela.

Mr Bernard Nguttu, H.E. Mrs. Maria Isabel Encoge, Ambassador of Angola, H.E Ms. Isabelle Ndahayo, Ambassador of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa, H.E. Ms. Margaret Shava, Ambassador of Kenya, H.E. Ms. Salima Abdelhak, Ambassador of Algeria and H.E. Mr. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of Rwanda.
H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa. and Mr Leendert de Lange, Mayor of Wassenaar.

Following is an excerpt of Ambassador Madonsela’s speech. “ May I hasten to say that ever since my posting to this beautiful country in 2020, there has never been a year when I have not been forcibly struck by the extraordinary coincidence between the historic date of birth of Freedom and Democracy in our country and His Majesty King William Alexander’s birthday. I flutter myself that this coincidence is perhaps the most authentic evidence of alignment in the constellation of the stars that characterises the growing and deepening relations between our two countries.

When South Africa held its first democratic elections 30 years ago, it defied many doomsayers who had expressed the fear that apartheid would end in a bloodbath. All that notwithstanding, our negotiated breakthrough marked the birth of our new nation, filled with the promise a new future: a better life for all, undergirded by a constitution which is the supreme law of the country.

Mrs. Yvonne Madonsela, H.E. Mrs. Rawan Suliaman, Palestine Head of Mission and H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa.

Accordingly, this year’s Freedom Day celebration provides an opportunity for us to reflect on how our nation can move forward by addressing our most pressing challenges, being always fully conscious that many people, both at home and abroad, made major sacrifices for our Freedom Day to dawn.

During our struggle days, the Netherlands was among the first countries to call for the isolation of Apartheid South Africa and became home of one of the largest Anti-Apartheid Movements in Western Europe, some of whose surviving leaders and members and among us here this evening, we wish to say that you have left an indelible mark in the history of humanity’s struggle for freedom and democracy in our country.

Embassy of south Africa Staff with members of the diaspora. South Africa National Day 2024.

It was due to your sacrifices and spirited contribution that the United Nations General Assembly, in 1966, declared apartheid as a crime against humanity. It is for that reason that South Africa bears both a moral duty to its own people and a legal obligation to the world, under international law, to act in solidarity with others, anywhere in the world, who are faced with the demon of apartheid oppression and colonial occupation.

When former President Nelson Mandela travelled abroad for the first time since his release from prison, even before his election as first President of Post-Apartheid South Africa, he visited Her Majesty Queen of the Netherlands, as she then was, on 16 June 1990, which visit formed the rock foundations of our growing and deepening relations that continue to this day.

H.E. Mr. Arnoldo Brenes Castro, Ambassador of Costa Rica and spouse Mrs Beatriz Piza, Ambassador Madonsela, Mrs Maria Rosa Eguez and spouse H.E. Mr. Andres Teran Parral, Ambassador of Ecuador, Ambassador Nicole Shampaine, USA Permanent Representative to the OPCW and spouse, Mrs. Nela Colin and spouse H.E. Mr. Almir Sahovic, Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

As we continue to grow our democracy, we pride ourselves that our rich heritage, myriad of cultures and languages are protected and that makes us one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world.

As an integral part of this ongoing journey towards the fulfilment of the promises of our Constitution, South Africa continues to build stable relationships with various countries. In this regard, the Working visit by Dutch Prime Minister to South Africa in June 2023 and the State Visit by the Royal Couple in October 2023, have deepened our historical relations. Consequently, there is a heightened level of trade and investment initiatives being pursued in various areas, the success of which will contribute to the growth of our export market and the development of our local economy – with regional prospects.

Mr. Lutendo Ratshibaya, Second Secretary Political, Embassy of South Africa, Ms. Shola Sanni, Netflix Director of Public Policy Affairs – Sub Saharan Africa, Ms. Monica Swanson, Port of Rotterdam Executive, Mr. Miulami Singapi, Cousenllor Political, South Africa Embassy, in the back, Mr. Mark Agterdenbosh, CEO- South Africa – Netherlands Chamber of Commerce.

Linked to all that is South Africa’s foreign policy posture which aims to contribute to building a better Africa and a better world. In this regard, South Africa is committed to advancing the AU Agenda 2063, including the impactful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, using the SADC as a building block.

As part of its contribution to democratic global governance, South Africa continues to promote multilateralism and the observance of International Law as means to resolving the world’s challenges.

In conclusion, thanks to all for attending. We thank Gemeente Wassenaar for the venue. Further, we would like to thank the Mayor, his Council and his friendly staff for making this possible and the excellent way in which they have worked with us in the execution of our plan.

H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa. H.E. Ms. Anet Pino Rivero, Ambassador of Cuba and spouse, Mr. Adalberto Soriano.

Many thanks to Ms Shola Sanni, Director of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa at Netflix and her team for hosting our event and for their generous support. We appreciate Netflix’s investment in storytellers and filmmakers from Africa, which Director Sanni believes are ready to bring African stories to the world- on the Netflix platform. We look forward to future collaborations.

I would like to thank the staff of our Mission for their hard work and dedication in making all the necessary arrangements for this reception.”

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