Reply by the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, to the
Toast Remarks by his Excellency, the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Dr
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the State Banquet, Istana Negara, Jakarta: 19 April
Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Indonesia, Dr Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono and Madame Yudhoyono,
Your Excellency, Vice President of
the Republic of Indonesia, Mohamed Yusuf Kalla,
Your Excellencies, Ministers
and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and gentlemen:
My wife, our entire delegation and I are
truly delighted to visit Indonesia during the historic commemoration of the 50th
anniversary of the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference. We thank you for your kind
and gracious hospitality. On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa,
we convey the warmest greetings to you, your wife, your Government and the wonderful
people of Indonesia.
May I also offer our condolences to all the people
of Indonesia for the loss of life, suffering and devastation caused by the tsunami,
the recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Your Excellency, we are here
to show solidarity with the people of this country, to thank you for your steadfast
solidarity and support for the liberation of South Africa and, indeed, for Africa
and the developing world as well as strengthening our historical, political and
As we know, it was in Bandung that the seeds for the
formation of the Non-Aligned Movement were planted as well as laying the foundations
for South-South co-operation so that developing countries can act together to
end poverty and underdevelopment.
Fifty years hence, South Africa is filled
with pride and joy to be free because you stood side by side with us. Indeed,
tonight we celebrate both freedom and a new strategic partnership between our
Your Excellency, we also celebrate a kinship which dates
back to the early 1630s when one of South Africa's heroes and earliest freedom
fighters, Autshumao, the chief of one of the indigenous people of South Africa,
sailed on an English cargo ship from the Cape of Good Hope to Bantam in Java.
Like many freedom fighters, Autshumao was later jailed on Robben Island and his
people suffered one of the most sustained acts of extermination in our country.
was the time when the English and the Dutch had set up a supposed refreshment
station at the Cape as part of a maritime route between their countries and Batavia,
Further, Batavia and the Cape became inextricably linked in
the seventeenth century, when people of the Indonesian archipelago, of various
descents, were transported as human cargo to the Cape to serve as slaves to the
I speak of people such as Susanna and Catherine of Paliacatt,
who were sent into exile from Batavia to serve life imprisonment on Robben Island
in 1657. Others such as the Mardyckers of Amboina and Sheik Yusuf of Macassar
were to follow in exile at the Cape.
As you know, Your Excellency, Sheik
Yusuf was a freedom fighter who fought against Dutch colonialism. He was then
captured and exiled in South Africa where he died. The area in which he was exiled
in South Africa is called Macassar, named after the original place in Java in
this country. Through the efforts of the local community in South Africa, a shrine
was built in honour of Sheik Yusuf and others who were brought to South Africa
against their will. The South African government is now in the process of inscribing
this shrine as a national monument, because in reality this is the heritage of
both the people of Indonesia and South Africa.
Indeed, to us as South Africans
and Indonesians, Sheik Yusuf is our hero. Undoubtedly, today, the descendents
of Sheik Yusuf and others are as South Africans as all of us, and their presence
in our country, always remind us that Indonesia is to South Africans a second
Your Excellency, there are countless other Indonesians from Bougies
and Sumatra and elsewhere, who were bought in Batavia and further sold at the
Cape. These were later to become the artisans of Cape architecture, farm workers
and indeed builders of our new nation.
Accordingly, it is surely these
roots planted by
our unsung heroines and heroes of the past, which we need
to nurture and strengthen in our strategic partnership.
Since 1994, our
bilateral trade has increased and I am confident that working together we will
reach even higher levels. Clearly, the signing this afternoon of the agreement
establishing a Joint Trade Committee and the Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural
Co-operation as well as the Letter of Intent between the Surabaya Zoo and the
Pretoria Zoo will add impetus to our future relations.
Again, I am pleased
with the progress made with relation to the Joint Commission Agreement signed
in March 2004 and look forward to the outcome of its first meeting this year.
This will create the possibility to further explore and strengthen co-operation
in areas such as economy, trade and investment, science and technology, agriculture,
education, people-to-people contact and others.
Further, we have a duty
to work together to ensure that the process of UN reform happens faster.
Excellency, I will like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to you,
your wife and your government to grace our shores in the near future, where you
will certainly receive a warm welcome in the land of the cheetah and perhaps take
a look at your gift, the komodo dragon, amidst the magnificent splendour of our
Ladies and gentlemen:
Please rise and join me in a toast
to the good health of His Excellency, President and Mrs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
and to the strong friendship between the peoples of Indonesia and South Africa.