SOUTH AFRICAN EM­BASSY CEL­E­BRATES NEL­SON MAN­DELA CEN­TE­NARY

Beijing (English) - - INFO -

2 018 marks the cen­ten­nial of the birth of Nel­son Man­dela (1918–2013), the South African icon in the strug­gle against apartheid. The South African Gov­ern­ment has named 2018, the “Man­dela Cen­te­nary Year” to cel­e­brate the life, times and legacy of the man. In Bei­jing, the Em­bassy of South Africa held a cer­e­mony on Oc­to­ber 13 to cel­e­brate Man­dela’s life through a se­ries of por­traits, videos and live cul­tural per­for­mances.

Man­dela was born on July 18, 1918 and con­ducted a half-cen­tury-long strug­gle to over­throw the racist white rule in South Africa. In 1963, fol­low­ing the fa­mous Rivo­nia Trial, he was sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment and be­gan serv­ing 27 years along­side his co-ac­cused. He be­came the fo­cus of global at­ten­tion sev­eral times dur­ing his in­car­cer­a­tion and ex­erted ex­ten­sive in­flu­ence across the world. Thou­sands of city may­ors from 53 coun­tries signed a pe­ti­tion for Man­dela’s re­lease; in Britain, 78 mem­bers of par­lia­ment is­sued a joint dec­la­ra­tion and 50 city may­ors joined a demon­stra­tion in Lon­don call­ing for the Bri­tish prime min­is­ter to ex­ert pres­sure on the South African gov­ern­ment to re­lease Man­dela.

Fi­nally, Nel­son Man­dela be­come the coun­try’s first black pres­i­dent, ush­er­ing in a demo­cratic and uni­fied era in South Africa. He was not only a renowned paci­fist in po­lit­i­cal cir­cles of Africa, but across the world in the 1990s. The African Na­tional Con­gress (ANC) he led played an im­por­tant role in end­ing racism in South Africa. A new South Africa was born in April 1994, mark­ing the com­ple­tion of the mis­sion to fight im­pe­ri­al­ism, colo­nial­ism and ra­cial seg­re­ga­tion in Africa. Man­dela en­joyed a high level of fame and was hon­oured as the “world’s pres­i­dent.” Known as the “smil­ing am­bas­sador” be­cause of his ever-present smile, he was a mod­est, in­clu­sive, up­right and wise hu­man be­ing.

The cel­e­bra­tion se­lected key mo­ments from Man­dela’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent of South Africa in 1994 un­til his death on De­cem­ber 5, 2013. The South African Gov­ern­ment has been ded­i­cated to the re­al­i­sa­tion of Man­dela’s vi­sion of a demo­cratic, just and eq­ui­table so­ci­ety.

In ad­di­tion, a short pro­mo­tional video was shown, demon­strat­ing the charms of South Africa, its world-renowned cui­sine in­clud­ing high qual­ity and fresh tast­ing prod­ucts such as beef, rooi­bos tea and wine, as well as lo­cally-made cos­met­ics and tra­di­tional beads.

This year also marks the 20th an­niver­sary of the estab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween South Africa and China. The re­la­tions have de­vel­oped rapidly from part­ner­ship re­la­tions in 2000, to a strate­gic part­ner­ship in 2004 and com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic part­ner­ship re­la­tions in 2010. Since 2009, China has been South Africa’s largest trade part­ner and South Africa is also China’s largest trade part­ner on the African con­ti­nent. The two coun­tries greatly value peo­ple-to-peo­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the “South Africa Year” in China was held in 2014, with the “China Year” in South Africa held the fol­low­ing year. The rapid ex­pan­sion and deep­en­ing of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions can­not be sep­a­rated from the sup­port of bi­lat­eral com­mit­tees, joint work­ing groups, bi­lat­eral ex­change mech­a­nisms and strate­gic di­a­logues. Fre­quent high-level vis­its have led to the fos­ter­ing of friendly re­la­tions be­tween the lead­ers of the two coun­tries.

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