The South African Embassy hosts a farewell function for 72 medical students

The South African Embassy in Havana, Cuba, hosted a Farewell Function for 72 medical students who have just completed their course in Cuba. The function was attended by a delegation from the South African Department of Health, led by the MEC of Health from the Eastern Cape Province, Mr Sicelo Gqobana including high-ranking officials from the Cuban Ministry of Health. More than 470 medical students from South Africa are currently studying in Cuba and 275 have already graduated and working in different parts of South Africa, especially the far-flanked rural areas that are in need of the vital medical service. 

During the function, the South African Ambassador to Cuba, Phatse Justice Piitso, thanked the Cuban Revolution for its contribution to the struggle for the liberation of South Africa and the African Continent, and its unparalleled contribution in the transformation of the lives of the millions of the people of the world. He mentioned that the internationalist character of the Cuban Revolution is currently offering twenty six thousands scholarships for students who come from the remote poor regions of the world, especially from the Third-World countries. It is through the spirit of Internationalism, inspired by the Cuban Revolution, that these young people will traverse and confront the mammoth challenges of disease and lack of basic health infrastructure facing Humankind.

South Africa and Cuba maintain good friendly historic relationship that was born out of the common struggles the people of these two nations waged against imperialism and colonialism. This historic relationship culminated with the demise of apartheid in Southern Africa, resulting in the victory for the independence of Namibia and South Africa. In the recent past, there has been a tremendous effort to consolidate and increase trade relations aimed at exploiting to the fullest the prospects offered by the economies of the two Nation States for the benefit of their own people. There has been an exchange of a number of important government and trade delegations, amongst others in the field of health, agriculture, tourism, mining, communications, home affairs, and a significant participation in the country’s Havana International Trade Fair.

In December 2010, the President of the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by his Ministers and high-ranking government officials and business community, paid a State Visit to this Caribbean island to further foster and deepen this historic relationship. This year in July will also see the participation of Cuban Government and its business community in the South African SAITEK Trade Fair.

Concluding his Farewell message, the Ambassador paid tribute to the life and times of the South African struggle icon, Mama Albertina Sisulu and encouraged the students to emulate and be exemplary to her commitment and dedication in the service of the people. He attributed her heroic role in the struggle for the liberation of the people of South Africa as a monument that will forever inspire the generations to come.

For further information please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO on 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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7 June 2011

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