Address by Deputy President Zuma, at the State Banquet in Honor of the
Vice President of Nigeria

My Dear Brother, Mr Vice President, Atiku Abubaker, Turakin Adamawa,
My Sister, Madame Abubakar,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Ministers of State,
Captains of Commerce and Industry,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is always a pleasant occasion to be able to host those we have come to regard as family, as brothers and sisters.

Mr Vice President, you and your delegation are no visitors here, as this is by now your home.

As we received you this week, we were reminded of our stay in Abuja last year, which was very special and highly enjoyable. We hope your stay in South Africa will be equally delightful.

My brother, you will agree with me that the special bond between South Africa and Nigeria has grown substantially over the last four years. It now transcends normal and regular government-to-government relations.

We believe our extraordinary friendship is also strengthened by our common guest for a new, just and peaceful world order. Our resolve in this regard is reinforced, by the tireless efforts of our respective Presidents, to engineer the emergence of a global consensus, on the need for poorer nations to have a more meaningful voice in the world arena.

Ladies and gentlemen, everyday more economic activity takes place between our two countries. We therefore welcome the business community here this evening, because partnership with business is crucial for this BNC to grow from strength to strength.

My Dear Brother, one area of unexplored potential is our different cultural heritages. Given the richness of our various cultures, traditions and arts, it does pose an exciting challenge for Nigerians and South Africans to learn more about each other, and to understand each other even better.

We believe that people to people linkages are a critical component of deepening our relations. We therefore look forward to the continued prioritisation of tourism, arts and culture in this Binational Commission.

Such linkages would also contribute to the eradication of negative stereotypes, that some ordinary South Africans and Nigerians might have of each other, which fuel xenophobic tendencies occasionally. If there are individuals who are victims of such stereotypes, it is important to bear in mind that such attitudes and activities do not reflect the policies and approach of the two governments. We need to constantly fight these negative stereotypes, which distort African culture and how we relate to each other.

Mr Vice-President, allow me to extend a special and warm welcome to the Governor of Adamawa State, and reiterate my gratitude and that of my delegation, for his hospitality last year.

Having visited the State of Adamawa last year, I really saw Nigeria from a different angle, and not through the eyes of Lagos and Abuja. The warm welcome by the people of Yola in particular, and Adamawa State in general, as well as the visit to the esteemed royal households, was an experience of a lifetime.

The visit to your home, my dear brother, was indeed a high point of my whole visit to Nigeria. The special warm welcome given to me and my delegation in your home village made me feel at home indeed, and part of your family.

I felt like I was being received by my family indeed. The love and warmth displayed by the people of the village made me feel special, and these memories are indelibly etched in my mind. I feel like I was there just a few weeks ago. That is why I regard your home village as my second home in the Adamawa State.

My Dear Brother, I trust that you and your delegation will once again enjoy your stay in our country, your home. And please, enjoy our modest hospitality this evening.

Let us drink a toast to the deep, strong and warm relations between South Africa and Nigeria.

I thank you.

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