Media Statement

8 June 2017

DIRCO hosts Member of Cuban 5

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), in partnership with the Cuban Embassy, hosted a discussion forum with Mr Fernando González, one of the Cuban 5 and the President of the Cuban Institute for Peoples Friendship (ICAP), on 8 June 2017 at O.R. Tambo Building.

Mr Fernando González was joined on the panel by the CEO of the National Heritage Council of South Africa, Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa as well as Dr Oscar Van Heerden, International Relations Specialist and Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) Fellow.

The discussion forum was attended by Cuban Embassy officials, other members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of youth formations, representatives from sister departments and DIRCO officials.

The guests were welcomed by the Deputy Director General for Americas and Europe, Ms Yolisa Maya. The conversation took place within the context of the commemoration of Youth Month and the celebration of the centenary of the father of South Africa’s diplomacy, Oliver Reginald Tambo.

During his remarks, Mr Gonzales alluded to the fact that the Cuban Revolution Solidarity is prescribed by Cuba’s international outlook particularly in the African Continent, as witness through Cuba’s past interventions in the support for Angola against the South African Apartheid government, Cuba’s role in the independence of Namibia and more recently in the Cuba-Africa cooperation wherein there is an increased Cuban presence in the African Medical/health Sector, Cuban Teachers and other professionals who are present and working on the continent.

Accordingly, the rest of the discussion focused on the meaning of solidarity and how to inculcate the values of Patriotism, Loyalty, Dedication, Ubuntu, Equity, Integrity, and Batho Pele in young people as espoused by OR Tambo. The preservation of national heritage and the imperative for South South cooperation and learning from each other as countries of the global South were the broad themes addressed by the speakers as well as during the Question and Answer session.

Mr Fernando González is in South Africa en route to Cuba after attending the 5th Continental African Conference on Solidarity with Cuba, which took place in Namibia from 5-7 June 2017.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5976


OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road



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