Commonwealth Day Message: Monday, 10 March 2014

Today, Monday, 10 March 2014, Commonwealth countries as symbol of their solidarity, celebrate Commonwealth Day under the theme “Team Commonwealth”.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of independent and equal sovereign nations bound together by a shared heritage of history, tradition, language and culture. A very strong characteristic and strength of the Commonwealth, is its rich diversity.  South Africa fully appreciates the strength of diversity and this is  reflected in our national motto: “!ke e:xarra//ke” meaning  “diverse people unite” or “people who are different joining together”.

However, the Commonwealth is much more than just a voluntary association of nations – it is a family of peoples and as a family we collaborate and work together towards international goals but also compete against each other in the spirit of friendly competition and camaraderie – Team Commonwealth!

In this regard, South Africa will be joining the rest of the Commonwealth family in participating in the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow from 23 July to 3 August 2014.  The 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games is not only a major highlight in the 2014 sports calendar but also has a very symbolic meaning for our country as we will be celebrating 20 Years of Democracy in 2014. And what better way to celebrate our 20th year of freedom and democracy than by having national and provincial elections, scheduled for 7 May 2014! This again shows South Africa’s commitment to the values and principles of the Commonwealth.

There is no doubt that this significant milestone will play an important role in spurring our sportsmen and women on to even greater heights at the Commonwealth Games. However, it is vital that all South Africans rally behind “Team South Africa” and assist in making South Africa’s participation and the Commonwealth Games itself, a massive success. 

South Africa will also establish a hospitality centre known as the “Ekhaya Centre” (Home away from home) in the host city, Glasgow to drum-up support for “Team South Africa”.  At the same time it will showcase South Africa as a member of the Commonwealth family and highlight our cultural diversity, humanity and traditions.

The Commonwealth Games gives expression to the links that bind this family together and has the unique potential to promote Commonwealth values and principles. Members of this family must ensure that these links are strengthened to have a positive influence on Commonwealth structures. This will enhance the global profile of the Commonwealth, bring its citizens more closely together and advance the goals of democracy and development.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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