On the occasion of South Africa’s 20th anniversary of Freedom Day, the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Delarey Van Tonder and Mrs. Sebella Van Tonder held a reception on Monday, 28 April at the Radisson Blu Hotel. A large number of Kuwaiti officials, members of diplomatic corps, local businessmen, media and South African nationals attended the reception.
The chief guest was His Excellency Yasser Hassan Abul, Minister of State for Housing in Kuwait.
Addressing the gathering Ambassador Van Tonder stated, “This year South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy. This momentous occasion presents an opportunity for us to reflect on how our freedom and democracy were achieved; the progress we have made the past 20 years; and on how South Africans will work together to implement our collective vision for a better South Africa and a better life for all.”
He added that since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Kuwait in the mid nineteen nineties, bilateral relations between both countries have remained cordial and solid. South Africa viewed the State of Kuwait as a strategic role player in peace, security and stability in the Gulf region and beyond, as well as in international energy security.
Furthermore, Kuwait performs a most constructive role as an investment partner on our Continent and specifically South Africa where it continues to contribute to the socio economic and infrastructure development of my country. South Africa holds Kuwait in the highest esteem for successfully hosting the Africa /Arab Summit last year and in particular the visionary and strategic leadership role of His Highness the Amir in conflict resolution and in promoting regional unity and cohesion.
South Africa’s democratic birth was rightly hailed as a miracle. Doomsayers and those who wanted us to fail had predicted chaos and civil war. However, none of these came to pass and the principled and visionary values of leadership, democracy and freedom endure today.
Indeed, South Africa’s democratic transition was premised on the inclusive will of the people, it was home-grown and negotiated with no destructive external intervention. We will remain indebted to all South Africans who sacrificed their lives in this quest and in particular the international community and those in Kuwait for their unwavering support in the struggle for SA’s liberation over so many decades.
As South Africans we dedicate this Celebration of SA’s 20 years of Freedom and Democracy to the Father of our Nation Nelson Mandela. I am privileged to recite a short poem in honour of his legacy.
“A soldier, a strategist, a statesman,
A son of the soil, a visionary.
A prisoner, a president.
The fugitive, the friend, the father,
the forgiving freedom fighter.
A revolutionary, a reconciler,
a herdsman, a hero,
our leader, our legend.”