Arab world cel­e­brates Man­dela

Pretoria News - - Metro - JOHN MAKONI

THE SEC­OND Arab Cul­tural Week is to be held at venues across Pre­to­ria from Oc­to­ber 22. This year’s event will be a cel­e­bra­tion of the cen­te­nary of Nel­son Man­dela un­der the um­brella of the Arab League.

Also be­ing cel­e­brated is Jerusalem, which a few years ago was de­clared the per­ma­nent cap­i­tal of Arab cul­ture.

The event seeks to pro­mote an un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of cul­tural dif­fer­ences as the ba­sis for cul­ti­vat­ing ac­cep­tance and tol­er­ance, said the com­mit­tee’s spokesper­son, Am­bas­sador of Jor­dan Ibrahim Awawdeh. It’s aim is to un­der­line the mes­sage that di­ver­sity is at the cen­tre of a thriv­ing world char­ac­terised by peace­ful co-ex­is­tence.

Cul­tural events to be held dur­ing the week range from dance, mu­sic, po­etry, plas­tic artists to film and cui­sine – and all are free of charge.

The Coun­cil of Arab Am­bas­sadors in Pre­to­ria, the pa­trons of the event, has gone out of its way to in­vite mem­bers of the pub­lic to come and en­joy them­selves and learn about Arab cul­ture.

The dean of Arab am­bas­sadors, the Am­bas­sador of Kuwait Hasan Al-Okab, chairs the coun­cil; within the coun­cil is the Arab Cul­tural Com­mit­tee of which Pales­tinian Am­bas­sador Hashan Da­jani is chair­per­son.

The Pre­to­ria News spoke to the com­mit­tee’s spokesper­son, Awawdeh, who high­lighted the im­por­tance of the cul­tural week and its goals.

“We are hold­ing this as a con­tri­bu­tion from our side as Arab am­bas­sadors to the cel­e­bra­tions be­ing held in South Africa for the cen­te­nary of Nel­son Man­dela.

“Africa and the Arab world have a lot in com­mon. A num­ber of Arab coun­tries are lo­cated in Africa and the two en­ti­ties share sim­i­lar val­ues, in­clud­ing peace, free­dom as well as friend­ship and de­vo­tion to the ideals of shar­ing and giv­ing,” Awawdeh said.

He noted that South Africa had a spe­cial place in the Arab col­lec­tive heart, point­ing out this was borne out by the fact that Pre­to­ria had the sec­ond-high­est Arab diplo­matic rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the world af­ter the UN.

“South Africa, as a coun­try that has bro­ken from its colo­nial past to free­dom, is a coun­try we can re­late to. This Cul­tural Week will be a win­dow for South Africans to look into the Arab world and en­joy by im­mers­ing them­selves in the Arab scene.”

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