Toast Remarks by Deputy President Jacob
Zuma, at the Banquet held in Honour of Vice-President
Atiku Abubakar of Nigeria, International Convention
Centre, Durban, 8 September 2004
Your Excellency and dear Brother, the Vice-President
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,
Your Excellencies, Nigerian and South African Government
The Honourable Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal,
Mr S'bu Ndebele, and the Executive Mayor of Durban,
Mr Obed Mlaba,
Governors of Nigerian States,
The High Commissioners of South Africa to Nigeria and
Nigeria to South Africa,
After a hectic day's work let me once again welcome
you and your delegation to our country and to this Province
You will have noticed and heard my Dear Brother, from
your last visit that this province abounds in natural
beauty, from the majestic Drakensberg mountain range
in the West to our beautiful Indian Ocean shore in the
While this province's wildlife is an attraction on
its own, KwaZulu-Natal is also a popular tourist destination
because of its year round beautiful warm weather, except
for this week of course, we ordered the rain to ensure
that delegates focus on work and avoid the beachfront!
You would be aware that this province is also known
for its colourful culture and a rich military history.
Many historic battles were fought in the rolling green
hills of this land of the legendary statesman King Shaka,
the greatest military and political strategist of all
This City of Durban has also become well-known internationally
as the home of international conventions, as you said
earlier today My Dear Brother that your first visit
here was to attend an economic summit.
Your Excellency you will have to forgive me for waxing
lyrical about this province, it is my home ground! You
will have to put up with my marketing for the next few
Let me once again emphasise that it is always an honour
for us to host you, and each time we meet, we move forward
in deepening and strengthening the relations and friendship
between our two countries.
The challenges that face the world, such as international
security and the eradication of poverty, put pressure
on us to double our efforts to achieve our goals, at
a bilateral as well as multilateral level.
The role that Nigeria is playing in the search for
peace in the continent is commendable, and our two nations
need to continue in this direction, towards the common
goal of rebuilding our continent.
Your Excellency, we are certainly making progress with
regards to enhancing economic linkages as well as people
to people co-operation between our two countries.
However, I believe we still have a lot to do to promote
and further enhance the understanding of each other's
cultures and traditions. We can do this through more
interaction, and as you outlined this morning, such
as through moving the meetings of the BNC to different
parts of our countries.
Your Excellency, given that September is Tourism Month
in our country, we hope that what you will see of this
province will encourage you to return at a later date
to explore what KwaZulu-Natal has to offer as a holiday
The reed dance, Umhlanga ceremony, forms an important
part of the September calendar in this province, and
I am glad you have agreed to join us to visit this cultural
spectacular on Saturday.
It is one of the main demonstrations of the culture,
traditions and pride of the Zulu people. Towards the
end of the month, we celebrate King Shaka Day, honouring
the founder of the Zulu nation, and later in the year,
the ukweshwama ceremony, during which the Zulu warriors
are expected to overpower and kill an extremely violent
bull with their bare hands! Mr Vice President you are
in the land of the brave and the daring, the Kingdom
of the Zulu.
Ladies and gentlemen, 2004 is a special year for us
as we mark 10 years of freedom and democracy.
As we celebrate, we cannot forget the role of the African
continent in our struggle for liberation. In this regard,
as Minister Jeff Radebe said earlier this morning, we
extend our heartfelt gratitude to our Nigerian brothers
and sisters for standing shoulder to shoulder with us
in fighting against apartheid and racism.
My dear Brother, let me reiterate that we have come
together this evening to celebrate the friendship and
co-operation between the two countries.
We need to commit ourselves to building an even stronger
Binational Commission, to ensure that we achieve the
goals we have set for ourselves, of strengthening and
deepening relations and co-operation in many areas.
May I invite you, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
to rise and join me in a toast to the long life and
wisdom of our two Presidents, and to growing and deeper
ties between South Africa and Nigeria!
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
8 September 2004