South Africa celebrates 30th Freedom Day

BY

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DFA Undersecretary Hon. Renato Dueñas Jr., Philippine Consul General in Dubai, Ambassador
Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe of the South African Embassy, and Papal Nuncio Father Charles John Brown, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps

On May 8, 2024, Ambassador Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe marked South Africa's 30th Freedom Day at Shangri-La The Fort, Manila. The ambassador extended greetings to notable figures, including Honourable President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Papal Nuncio Father Charles John Brown, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, alongside key partners and sponsors.

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cutting of cake ceremony

Ambassador Radebe-Netshitenzhe honored the historical significance of April 27, 1994, when South Africans united to exercise their  democratic rights for the first time, ending centuries of racial oppression under apartheid.

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Ambassador Marie Fontanel of the French Embassy with Ambassador Marcela Ordoñez of the Colombian Embassy, and Ambassador Chanaka Harsha Talpahewa of the Sri Lankan Embassy

Reflecting on the country's journey, the ambassador emphasized the values of non-racialism, non-sexism, equality, and human dignity that have shaped modern South Africa.

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Groupfie shot taken by Ambassador MaryKay Carlson of the American Embassy with Ambassador Ilan Simon Fluss of the Israeli Embassy, Ambassador Nicolas Brühl of the Swiss Embassy, and Manila Bulletin’s Badette Cunanan, and Barbie Atienza

The ambassador highlighted the significance of the May 29 elections in the nation's democratic evolution. She reiterated the government's commitment to improving the lives of its citizens, and contributing to global diplomacy and foreign policy by prioritizing national interests and fostering international relations, with Pretoria playing an important role in global diplomacy.

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Brunei Ambassador H.E. Megawati Dato Paduka Haji Manan, South Africa Ambassador H.E. Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe , Mme. Irene Carlos, and Mme. Roswitha Brieger
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Ambassador Tull Traisorat of the Thai Embassy with Ambassador Daniel Hernandez Joseph of the Mexican Embassy

Ambassador Radebe-Netshitenzhe celebrated South Africa's embrace of Ubuntu, a philosophy of humanity and interconnectedness, and paid tribute to the late President Nelson Mandela’s leadership that guided the nation through a peaceful post-apartheid transition as well as to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1996.

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Ambassador Ilan Simon Fluss of the Israeli Embassy, Papal Nuncio Father Charles John Brown, Honorary Consul Agnes Huibonhoa of the Republic of the Gambia, and Ambassador Christian Halaas Lyster of the Norwegian Embassy

The ambassador highlighted the country's leadership role in the continent by advocating for human rights, continental integration, and initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and underscoring its commitment to global human rights, citing efforts to support the Palestinian cause and promote peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Ambassador Agus Widjojo of the Indonesian Embassy with spouse Mme. Ranny Moerni Cahyani, and Ambassador Phan Peuv of the Cambodian Embassy
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Ambassador Borhan Uddin of the Bangladeshi Embassy, Ambassador Saleh Asad Saleh Fhied Mohammad of the Palestinian Embassy, Chairman Mohammad Elbeitam of Middle East and North Africa Chamber of Commerce Inc., Consul General Mohammad Issam of Syria, and Deputy Head of Mission Dr. Amin Shaaban of the Egyptian Embassy

Gender equality, she stressed, remains a core focus, with South Africa championing initiatives like UNSC Resolution 1325, which recognizes the vital role of women in peace and security, affirming the commitment for a more equitable society.

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Ambassador Marat Pavlov of the Russian Embassy with spouse Mme. Irina Pavlov, and Ambassador Lai Thai Binh of the Vietnamese Embassy

Celebrating historical ties between South Africa and the Philippines, the ambassador highlighted 30 years of deepened cooperation based on shared values and mutual prosperity. As the largest African trading partner with the Philippines, South Africa significantly contributes to remittances, hosts nearly 2,000 working Filipinos and almost 1,000 Filipino migrants since the 18th century. Post-COVID-19, Filipino tourism to South Africa has risen, contributing to the nearly three million global visitors in March.

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Ambassador William John Carlos of the Irish Embassy with his spouse Mme. Irene Carlos, Mme. Roswitha Brieger, and Ambassador Johann Brieger of the Austrian Embassy