Closing Remarks by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, on the occasion of the Gala Dinner in honour of participants at the Diplomatic Fair, Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria, 15 September 2012.
Honourable Mayor, Ntate Kgosientsho Ramokgopa;
Director General, Ambassador Jerry Matjila;
Your Excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassadors;
Senior Members of Government
Honourable Members of the Mayoral Committee;
We have come to the end of a very enriching and meaningful event. Once again, we have seen that the various cultures of the world have a lot in common which binds us together as one. Many nations, diverse cultures, one race, the human race.
Allow me to take this opportunity to commend the members of the diplomatic community, DIRCO staff, and other important stakeholders, who made this event the great success it was.
Cultural diplomacy is a domain of international relations, focussed on forging ties of friendship through culture, art and education. It is a proactive process of external projection of a nation’s institutions, value system and unique cultural personality. It can be used by both state and non-state actors to build relationships by promoting mutual understanding and confidence, and in this way contributing towards greater harmony amongst nations.
In South Africa, this is found in the expression of the motto of our Coat of Arms, (KE E /XARRA/ KE,) written in the Khoisan language of the Xam people, which simply means, diverse people unite.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
The practice of cultural diplomacy requires each party to recognise the distinct cultural dynamics of the other, to engage in a dialogue to gain an understanding of the others’ traditions, history, language and general way of life.
I am because you are. This recognition affords equal rights on equal terms, as we know that the principle of Ubuntu is the foundation of human rights.
The African Union is undertaking to integrate the cultural, political and economic streams of an entire continent into a body that will bring about the African Renaissance by strengthening unity among the peoples and States of Africa. The endeavour of working to realise a fully functional African Union that integrates the multifarious facets of its 53 diverse member nations is closely tied to the success of cultural recognition, understanding and dialogue among member states. The Strategic Plan of the African Union Commission recognises the importance that cultural diplomacy plays in this ambitious undertaking.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I hope that you have enjoyed yourselves over the past two days. I would like to once again thank all of you for the hard work that you have done, and for brightening Tshwane by bringing our rich and colourful world to thousands of ordinary South African citizens.