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On 16 January 2020 Ambassador Thage was invited to visit Vassil Levski 159th Primary
School in Chelopechene Area, Sofia by the principal of the school, Ms Ilka Stoimenova.
He was welcomed to the school with homemade bread and a performance by students
of the school dressed in traditional outfits. The visit continued at the Mihail Gelev
Cultural Centre in Chelopechene where Ambassador Thage acquainted the numerous
students filling the hall with interesting facts about South Africa through a PowerPoint
presentation to which the audience responded with great interest and numerous
The year 2020 started off on a sound footing for the South African Embassy in Bulgaria. On 15 January 2020, Ambassador Thage delivered a lecture to members of the Sofia Rotary Club. The lecture focused on the theme Bilateral Relations between South Africa and Bulgaria and covered historical and contemporary diplomatic relations, including key milestones and achievements regarding economic diplomacy between the two countries.  At the end of the lecture, the audience asked thought provoking questions which were adequately addressed by the Ambassador.
On 14 January a group of children of the Roma ethnic minority from N Vaptsarov Primary School in the village of Selanovtsi visited the Chancery on the occasion of the Roma New Year.

The pupils presented an old tradition of wishing health and prosperity by reciting poems (in Roma and Bulgarian languages), dancing and tapping the host – Ambassador Thage on the back with a decorated twig. The hosts in return gifted the children with goodies (fruit and chocolates).

Happy Bango Vassili (Roma New Year)!!
On 11 December 2019 Ambassador Thage met with Ms Verginiya Krasteva, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to inform that South Africa considers agriculture to be one of the priority areas for cooperation with Bulgaria and to discuss the most viable means for such cooperation.

The meeting was very friendly and productive, and both parties agreed that they will actively pursue successful partnership in this key sector.
On 10 - 11 December 2019, the South African Embassy in Bulgaria, under the leadership of Ambassador Thage, hosted a high-level delegation from the Free State Government led by the MEC of Agriculture, Mr KW Bulwane. Mr Bulwane was invited to participate in a graduation ceremony hosted by the Plovdiv University of Agriculture. Amongst the graduates were six students from the Free State Province who obtained their MSc in plant protection cum laude. A proud moment indeed! During his brief stay in Bulgaria, MEC Bulwane, held productive meetings with private companies in the Agrarian sector as well as the Management of the Plovdiv University of Agriculture. The Plovdiv University of Agriculture continues to educate 10 South African undergraduate students who will complete their studies in the next two years.
H.E. Ambassador Thabo Thage attended the ceremony on the occasion of the decoration of the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Bulgaria, H.E. Abdelwahab Al Najjar, with the Order "Madara Horseman - Ist Class" for his contribution to the development of the relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Bulgaria.

H. E. Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria decorated H.E. Ambassador Abdelwahab Al Najjar on 21 November 2019 at the Presidency.
As part of the Mission’s programme to strengthen bilateral relations between Bulgaria and South Africa, Ambassador Thabo Thage initiated a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor (Rector) of Plovdiv University of Agriculture, Professor Yancheva.

The meeting which took place on 19th November 2019, explored possible opportunities of collaboration between the Plovdiv University of Agriculture and interested South African Universities.

The Plovdiv University of Agriculture is a host to 16 students from Free State Province who are specialising in plant production at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
On 10 November 2019 the annual Remembrance Day event was held at the military section of Sofia Central Cemetery. It was attended by ambassadors, representatives of the military and members of the public.

The service commemorates those who died in the two world wars and in later conflicts.

It is co-hosted by the ambassadors of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France and Italy in Sofia, and respective commemorations were held at the Commonwealth war graves section, and the German, Italian and French military cemeteries.

Seven members of the South African Air Force (SAAF) who perished in Bulgaria on 27 June 1944 while on a mission, are buried in the Commonwealth war graves section.

Ambassador Thage also participated in Remembrance Day event and laid wreaths at the respective commemorations at Sofia Central Cemetery.

Remembrance Day, lest we forget!
On 6 October 2019, Ambassador Thage gave his first interview in Bulgaria for the Dobar Den (Good Day) Programme of the Bulgarian National Television, Channel 2. He spoke of South Africa’s cultural diversity, the priorities of his mission in Bulgaria, etc. Mrs Thage explained to the audience what Heritage Day is all about. South African students in the Plovdiv Agricultural University performed traditional South African dances. Everyone was clad in traditional South African clothing, and the studio was adorned with South African souvenirs and beadwork.
Link to the interview  
HE Mr Thabo Thage
Head of Mission
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