Embassy of the Republic of South Africa

Ambassador’s – Makhenkesi A. Stofile – message for the month of March 2012: The year 2012 proves itself to be a busy one for us and this month is no exception.  The Embassy was involved in the very exciting calendar events that included: the international tourism fair (ITB), 7 – 11 March and the annual Defence Attaché Ball on 17 March 2012.  The former brought to Berlin a strong South African  contingent led by  Honourable van Schalkwyk,  Minister of Tourism, together with participants from tourism companies and provincial tourism structures from all nine provinces in our country. This mega event, once again, put South Africa on the map as a premier investment and tourism destination.  The Defence Ball further strengthened our bourgeoning bilateral political and economic relations between the Africans and fellow peoples of the Federal Republic of Germany. Hence, this year’s event was jointly organised by South Africa, Zambia and Namibia.  It is my fervent hope that these events and many others provided a wonderful opportunity to build partnerships, exchange ideas about the world of travel and tourism, and enhance more people-to-people contacts.

In the month of March, we are reminded that the year 2012 is also special because it marks the 16th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic, which gives full expression to our democratic ideals. The Constitution is South Africa’s fundamental vision statement, which guides our policies and actions. We reaffirm our commitment to advance the ideals of our country’s Constitution at all times. It is in this spirit that in March, as part of the Centenary celebrations, we will be celebrating the collective leadership of Reverend Zacharias Richard Mahabane- ANC President General 1924 – 1927 and 1937-1940, under the theme All Shall Have Equal Rights. The epicentre of this month’s event is Mpumalanga province (a place where the sun rises), famous for its scenic beauty and breath-taking landscape and an amazing wildlife.

On March 21 we will be commemorating the Human Rights Day,  to mark the fateful events of 21 March 1960 when anti-pass laws demonstrators in Sharpeville were gunned down by police. It is estimated that 69 people were killed that day, including 8 women and 10 children, and 180 injured, including 31 women and 19 children. To celebrate our Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, scheduled events will commence with the Launch of the ID campaign in all Provinces (Contrasting denial – pass law based violations – and access – in line with government offered services.).  We are of the view that combining these commemorative events in the manner envisaged above is a befitting way to celebrate the basic right to Freedom of movement and residence, denied to our people for decades, and a tribute to honour our fallen heroes and heroines in Sharpville and elsewhere as part of the anti-pass campaign.

Our 1996 Constitution distinguishes itself for being one of the most liberal in the world; in its preamble it inter alia reaffirms the non-racial character of our society and reminds that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, regardless of the race, gender, colour or creed. The preamble also commits all of our compatriots to build a united and democratic South Africa that is able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations. In this regard, we would like to once again express our sincere appreciation to the Government and the peoples of the Federal Republic of Germany for their continued support in the consolidation of our democracy beyond 1994.  We enjoin them to work with us as we embark on the quest for a better life and a better world for all.

I trust you will enjoy this edition and be part of the exciting and supportive events that could be taking place in different parts of the Federal Republic of Germany to promote the culture of human rights the world over.

HE Rev Dr Makhenkesi Stofile

Introducing the second ANC President: Reverend Zacharias Richard Mahabane- ANC President General 1924–1927 and 1937-1940

Mr R.M. Mahabane was born in Thaba Nchu Orange, (now Free State) in 1881. He died in 1970 in Kroonstad (now Free State) where he had lived and worked for most of his long and illustrious career. Rev. Mahabane was married to Harriet Mantoro. The couple had three daughters and two sons.

Mr Mahabane completed his primary school education in Thaba Nchu. In 1901 he qualified as a teacher at the Morija Mission Institute in Basotholand (Lesotho) and later worked as a court interpreter. After six years of religious training, he was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1914.

Mr Mahabane was closely involved in the black resistance to the J. B. M. Hertzog Draft Bills, which, amongst others, were considering the removal of the Cape black voters from the common voters` roll. To oppose Prime Minster Hertzog´s legislation, the All Africa Convention (AAC) was formed in 1935 as a confederation of the ANC, the South African Indian Congress (SAIC), and the South African Coloured People’s Organisation (SACPO).  Mr Mahabane became one of its leaders and a member of the AAC delegation that conveyed the convention`s grievances and proposals to J. B. M Hertzog in 1936. Resistance was not successful but the AAC continued to exist.

With the SACPO leader Mr A. Abdurahman, he organised the so-called Non-European Unity Conferences between 1927 and 1934 where Africans, coloureds and Indians discussed their common grievances and ideals.

As a leading personality in both the ANC and ACC, President Mahabane was keen to unite all blacks into one firm and positive political front and did his best to promote the reconciliation of these organizations. However, this proved to be a vain attempt.

In the 1940s, Mr Mahabane became a member of the ANC committee that had to investigate the revision of the ANC’s constitution. In 1943 he was made lifelong honorary president.  Through the ANC, he constantly tried to educate Africans about their rights and made frequent representations against the colour bar.

In the 1940s and 1950s President Mahabane concentrated on church related activities, especially the strengthening of the interdenominational African Ministers Federation (IDAMF), founded in 1945. He attended the National Conference of Black Thinkers in Bloemfontein to discuss the Tomlinson Report (Report of the Commission/or the Socio-Economic Development of the Bantu Areas), which was organized by IDAMF in 1956. This was one of the most representative rallies of black people since the AAC meetings of the mid-thirties and it rejected the commission’s findings. Mr Mahabane also played a prominent role in the development of the Methodist Church in South Africa and helped to draw up the church’s constitution and to define the equal status of all in the church.

Source: http://www.anc.org.za/showpeople.php?p=30

Introducing a Province: Mpumalanga

When picturing a place that has it all, Mpumalanga vividly comes to mind and warms the heart with its endless array of attractions. Known by the locals as “the place where the sun rises”, you are spoilt for choice from wildlife to nightlife with world-class activities around every corner.

In Mpumalanga you can bear witness to the world´s largest green canyon, the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon which magically sets the tone for other breathtaking natural attractions including God´s Window, Bourke´s Luck Potholes, Long Tom Pass and the Three Rondavels. It is also a region rich in history which you can experience first-hand with a trip to Pilgrims Rest, a gold rush town that looks like a living museum. Adding to the colourful heritage, Ndebele and Shangaan culture can be experienced with a visit to the respective cultural villages, providing you with insight into traditional life in this part of the world.

Start your journey in Nelspruit, a thriving city with a host of accommodation options, restaurants, shops and tourist attractions, as well as being the perfect gateway to the historic and scenic towns of White River, Hazyview and Sabie. Mpumalanga is of course also home to the Kruger National Park, which is teeming with wildlife and world famous Big 5.

Whether you experience it at the exclusive Sabi Sand Reserve, the numerous other game lodges, boutique hotels and spas, bed and breakfasts or wonderful tourist facilities – a trip to Mpumalanga will live with you forever.

Source: South Africa Tourism, www.dein-suedafrika.de

Looking ahead: Berlin

  • 12 April 2012: The five member South African reggae band, Tidal Waves kick off their four-week world tour with a full concert at one of Berlin’s newest world music and art venues, MoBe – moving poets Berlin on Thursday, 12.4.2012 at 20:00 Uhr. (An intimate warmup teaser performance will be held at Intersoup in Berlin on Tuesday, 10.4.2012. A show that will be supported by the Irish folk singer, Lee Mitchell and the eclectic singer / songwriters,Paper Aeroplanes from England,Wales.)
  • 16/17 April 2012: The German – South African Year of Science will be launched in Cape Town
  • 26 April – 05 May 2012: South Africa meets Mozart at the Admiralspalast in Berlin. The opera “The Magic Flute” by Mozart is newly interpreted by a fantastic South African ensemble with instruments like marimbas and drums and directed by award-winning theatre director Mark Dornford-May. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://www.admiralspalast.de/event.aspx?eventId=1649
  • 27 April 2012: The highschool Realschule plus in Trier, Germany will be re-named into Nelson Mandela School. After Berlin and Hamburg, this is the third school in Germany that will carry Madiba`s name.
  • 16 May – 17 June 2012: An exhibition with the title “Solidaritäten über Grenzen: Die deutsche Sozialdemokratie und der African National Congress” will be shown at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung at Hiroshimastrasse 17 in Berlin.
  • 29 May – 24 June 2012: An exhibition with the title “Solidaritäten über Grenzen: Anti-Apartheid Kampagnen in BRD und DDR” will be shown at the August-Bebel-Institut in Müllerstrasse 163 in Berlin. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 14:00 to 18:00.

Text: Katharina Horn.


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