Ambassador MK Lekgoro writes for Việt Nam News ahead of South Africa’s national day
The National Day of the Republic of South Africa is celebrated annually on April 27. South Africans, enjoined by their constitution for the freedom of their country, will gather in a different formation to mark this sacred day.
They will gather as families or friends in their homes to reminisce over their shared experiences under the oppressive apartheid regime. They will gather in churches to pray for everlasting peace. They will gather in mass meetings and rallies to commemorate the day and dedicate themselves that never again in South Africa will anyone be oppressed by another.
They will do so amidst the devastating effects of recent floods in Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, in which 448 people are already known to have lost their lives, and many private properties and public infrastructure have been destroyed.
|South Africa’s Ambassador to Vietnam, HE Mr MK Lekgoro (third from the right), and the Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, HE Mr Nguyễn Hồng Diên (fourth from the right), held fruitful talks on measures to promote trade between the two countries on April 2, 2022. — Photo Courtesy of the embassy
South Africans will also use these celebrations as a stark reminder that the greater numbers of black South Africans are still outside and some on the periphery of the South African economic mainstream, which impedes the eradication of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Aware of these challenges and determined to do more, the Government of South Africa designated April as Freedom Month themed “Consolidate our Democratic Gains”.
This is cognizant of the great strides that the country has attained since the dawn of democracy and the burden of the task that lies ahead.
The many planned activities throughout South Africa for April will culminate in a national event on April 27, 2022 in Free State Province.
On this day, we remember, salute and honour countless heroes and heroines who, through sacrifice, endured untold harm, with many paying the ultimate prices with their lives for the country to attain freedom and democracy. Through their sacrifices, South Africa today is a democratic country based on justice, equality, the rule of law and human rights.
As a country, we also highly value the various forms of support from the international community in our struggle for freedom, including Việt Nam.
Việt Nam remains a true international partner to South Africa who closely worked with us in the struggle against Apartheid. In 1978, the President of the African National Congress (ANC), the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, at the invitation of the Government of Việt Nam, led a delegation to learn from the Vietnamese experience in their struggle for independence. South Africa remains indebted to Việt Nam for the invaluable support.
From the onset of our democracy, democratic South Africa’s Government continued to maintain this historic bond between the two countries, which laid the solid foundation for fraternal bilateral relations.
Since then, bilateral relations have moved from strength to strength. The recent 5th Meeting of the South Africa-Việt Nam Intergovernmental Partnership Forum for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Co-operation took place virtually on April 14, 2022 and was co-chaired by the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, is a recent testament to these solid relations.
Trade between the two countries continues to grow, potentially reaching $2 billion in the near future. More and more, the Vietnamese and South Africans are becoming aware of each other’s countries and gravitating towards cooperation in education and cultural activities.
|A view of Cape Town Harbour with Table Mountain in the background. — Photo Courtesy of the embassy
South Africa’s top five export products to Việt Nam are mineral products, vegetable products, base metals and articles of base metal, products of the chemical or allied industries, and textiles and textiles articles.
Việt Nam’s top five exports to South Africa are machinery (cell phones, electrical equipment, computers and mechanical appliances), footwear, textiles, mineral products and vegetables.
South Africa is Việt Nam’s largest trade partner in Africa, and we would like to continue to serve as a gateway to Africa as Việt Nam pursues closer relations with our continent, in the same way that South Africa seeks closer ties with ASEAN.
I am honoured to be accorded the space to celebrate the 28th anniversary of South Africa’s freedom with the people of Việt Nam. VNS