Ambassador Ms. Nozuko Gloria Bam of the Republic of South Africa in Seoul said, “South Africa and South Korea could collaborate and tap into investment opportunities offered by South Africa in the areas such as advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, natural gas, services, minerals and agricultural beneficiation.”
Speaking to hundreds of guests at a reception she hosted at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on April 27, 2017 in celebration of the National Day of South Arrica, Ambassador Bam stated, “This year’s Freedom Day celebration is a very significant occasion as the year 2017 marks the centenary of the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, who played an integral role in the liberation of South Africa.” Then she said: “We are celebrating his life and recall his words when he said ‘we have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity.’”
The reception was attended by many distinguished guests from various segments of Korean society, including the government, business circles and other segments of society. Among the Korean participants at the party were Deputy Minister Cho June-Hyuck of Foreign Affairs for Public Relations and leading figures from various segments of Korean society, including popular Korean songstress, Insooni. Media representatives at the party Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media.
Attendance from the international community was also very large included many ambassadors. Among them were Ambassadors Jorge Roballo of Argentina, Elisabeth Bertagnoli of Austria, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Andrei Popkov of Belarus, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Adulah Sarif Ali Saleem Al-Nuaimi of United Arab Emirates, John A. Prasetio of Indonesia, Hassan Taherian of Iran, Aingeal O’onoghue of Ireland, Bader Mohammad Al-Awadi of Kuwait, Askar Beshimove of Kyrgyzstan, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Tony Shu of Marshall Islands(CDA), Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar, Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Irineo Raul Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of Russia, Emma-Francoise Isumbingabo of Rwanda, Riyad A. H. Almubaraky of Saudi Arabia , Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal, Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa, Mohamad Abdelaal of Sudan, Soares Ximenes Adalgisa Dalgisa Maria of Timor Leste, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan, Abdulla Saif al Nuaimi of the United Arab Emirates, and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.
Standing out from among other international dignitaries was Commanding General Vincent K. Brooks of the United Nations Command/United States Forces Korea/US-ROK Combined Forces Command.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Bam:
It is indeed a great privilege and honour for us that you have joined here this evening to commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the National Day of the Republic of South Africa, commonly referred to as Freedom Day – a day that represents peace, unity and restoration of human dignity of all South Africans.
Please accept our warmest greetings and profound gratitude.
This year’s Freedom Day celebrations is a very significant occasion as the year 2017 marks the centenary of the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, who played an integral role in the liberation of South Africa. Today we celebrating his life and recall his words when he said: "We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity". Oliver Tambo dedicated his life to the pursuit of equality and justice for all South Africans and was one of the founding fathers of our constitutional democracy. Correctly so, the Government has named 2017 the year of Oliver Tambo.
In this regard, we are reminded to reflect on the strides that the country has made in achieving the vision of a better life for all. Undoubtedly, much has changed since 1994 and there has been progress in every sphere of society. All these strides seek to realise the cherished vision of peace and prosperity for South Africa, the African Continent as well as beyond.
As we celebrate our achievements, we do so acutely aware of the reality that we live in a troubled world. None of us can be indifferent to the challenges impacting peace and stability in the world including in the Korean Peninsula. In this regard, South Africa will continue to support regional and international efforts to make the world a better place.
South Africa and South Korea, continue to enjoy cordial relations and I avail this opportunity to reaffirm to our South Korean leadership and friends here tonight, that the South Africa remains committed to the strengthening of the existing relations in all fields of mutual interest.
To this effect, the inauguration of the Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC) will provide that impetus to deepen our bilateral relations and also for exploring new opportunities.
The month of December will mark another momentous occasion as we gear-up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between our two countries. In this regard, the Embassy in conjunction with our South Korean and South African partners intends to celebrate this milestone through a diverse range of cultural events.
The mainstay of our relations is to enhance economic and trade ties and to stimulate our efforts at all levels.
As a country, we have travelled a remarkable road since our transition to democracy, and through the establishment of the National Development Plan, we have identified a number of economic interventions that could enable our country to grow the economy and create jobs. South Africa and South Korean companies could collaborate and tap into investment opportunities offered by our country in the areas such as: advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, Natural Gas, services, minerals and agricultural beneficiation. On the other hand, South African companies will be delighted to explore opportunities offered by South Korea’s retail and services sectors.
Notwithstanding the current global challenges, South Africa has a good story to tell and our achievements as a country are globally acknowledged. Recently our satellite industry was recognised as a global aerospace player, with the inclusion of two locally developed nano-satellites on the Atlas V rocket destined for the International Space Station which was successfully launched on 18 April 2017 in the United States. South Africa and South Korea were among the twenty-three countries around the world that developed the nano-satellite used at the launch of the Atlas V rocket. This initiative provides broad platform for future cooperation between our two nations.
As you entered the venue, you may have noticed the Embassy has put together a small exhibition to showcase some of the globally renowned South African products: such as a Krugerrand display, The South African Krugerrand which is a gold coin remains a timeless collector’s item. We also have on display some distinctive quality wines, juices, tea and protea flowers. All these products are currently available in the South Korean market for your consumption. The wines that are on display are also being served here tonight, so do enjoy!
As we celebrate our national day, we would like to thank the government and people of South Korea for all the support and cooperation we have received from you in these past 24 years of our bilateral relations. I would like to convey a special thanks to Ambassador CHO June-Hyuck, Deputy Minister for Public Relations & Spokesperson of MOFA for gracing our national day celebration.
I would also like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to Ms Bronwyn Mullen, a fellow South African who has been in Korea for the past 12 years, and who has made a name for herself in the Korean TV industry, for availing of her time as our MC for tonight.
Also my sincere gratitude to the following companies and organisations and the performers which through their gracious contributions have enabled the realisation of our National Day. To the Distell Group, a leading South African producer and marketer of spirits, fine wines, ciders for sponsoring the wines, and ciders; the South African Flower Export Council for sponsoring the beautiful proteas, which is South Africa’s National Flower.
A warm welcome to my countryman, Francois le Roux, a.k.a. the HA!Man who will be performing for us here tonight.
In concluding, let me on this auspicious occasion wish all South Africans living in South Korea a Happy Freedom Day and friends of South Africa a happy, peaceful and prosperous year ahead and the strengthening and deepening of our bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea.
I Thank You, Baie Dankie, Ke a Leboga, Gamsahinida